This surname was from the medieval given name DENNIS, originally rendered in the Greek form DIONYSIOS, and Latinized DIONYSIUS. It was the name of an eastern God introduced to the classical pantheon at an relatively late date and bearing a name of probably Semitic origin. This name was borne by various early saints, including St. Denis, the martyred 3rd century bishop of Paris who became the patron of France; the popularity of the name in England from the 12th century onwards seems to have been largely due to French influence and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. It was the name of several Saints, and popular in Europe, and England during the 11th and 12th century. Early records of the name mention Deonisia of the County of Yorkshire in 1212.
Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
Ralph Dynis of the County of Devon was recorded in the year 1308. Dionis ate Brome was documented in the year 1332 in County Somerset. Deonis (without surname) of the County of Surrey was mentioned in 1327. Richard Dionys of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Joseph Lovering and Elizabeth Denneys at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1785.
This font name for a while was exceedingly popular especially in Yorkshire and the North. The feminine DENNISE lingered on in South West England until the close of the last century. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.
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