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Etienne Coat of Arms / Etienne Family Crest

This French given name ETIENNE was originally derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning 'crown'. This was a popular name throughout Christendom in the Middle Ages, having been borne by the first Christian martyr, stoned to death at Jerusalem three years after the death of Christ. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name. A notable member of this name was Henri STEPHENS (French ETIENNE, Latin Stephanus) (c.l460-l520) born in Provence, founder of the great firm of printers and publishers of that name. He had three sons, Francois, Robert and Charles. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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