Last name: Gunner

Recorded in many forms including Gonner, Gunnor, Guner, Junor, and apparently Junior, this is an English surname. It has at least two possible origins, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly it may be of Old Norse origin, and an example of that rare group of surnames called metronymics, where the name is derived from that of the first bearer's mother; this is rare because European society has almost invariably been patriarchal, with the father's given name handed down as a distinguishing surname through the generations. In this instance, the surname derives from the pre 7th century female personal name "Gunvor", composed of the elements "gunn", battle, and "vor", the feminine form of "varr", defender. This given name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Gunneuare and Gunnor", and the first recording of the surname, below, is from this source. The second possible origin of the surname is from the early medieval English occupational name "gonner", from "gunne or gonne", meaning a cannon, with the agent suffix "-er". Thomas le Gonner is recorded in Essex in 1285, whilst examples from the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: the marriage of Robert Gunner and Anne Ashe at St. Bartholomew the Less, on February 11th 1598, Alice Guner, who married Jenkin Jones at St Andrews by the Wardrobe on January 9th 1664, Alexander Junior whose daughter Catherine was christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on December 5th 1715, and finally Jane Junor who married Alexander McDougall at St James Westminster, on June 24th 1770. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of William Gunnore. This was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Suffolk". Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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