The English and Irish surname DENVER (also spelt DENVIR) is of two distinct origins. In the first place, in England, the surname DENVER is of toponymic origin. Toponymic surnames are those names which derive their origin from a particular place name near which the original bearer lived or held land. In this instance, the surname DENVER derives from the place name Denver located in Norfolk, England. Thus the surname DENVER means 'one who comes from Denver'.
Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
Alternatively, the surname DENVER in Ireland may be of patronymic origin. Patronymic surnames are names which derived from the personal name of the father of the original bearer of the name. In this instance, the surname Denver or Denvir derives from D'Anvir a Norman surname introduced to England during the Norman Conquest of l066. The earliest of the name on record in Ireland appears to be Sir John Denvir, believed to be a descendant of a Norman named D'Anver of Norfolk. Earliest records of the name Denver in England include Engelina de Denver, Walter de Denver, and William de Denver, Lord of Denver. All three lived in Norfolk during the reign of King Henri III (l272-l307). Notable members of this surname include the United Irishman, Patrick Denvir (l747-l83l) a descendant of Sir John, who in l799 went to America. John Denvir (l834-l9l6) author of 'Life Story of an Old Rebel' and a notable figure among the Catholic Irish of Liverpool.
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