This famous surname is of Norman French origins, and was introduced into Britain after the 1066 Invasion. Originally recorded chiefly in the English south east counties of Suffolk and Kent, it was a medieval occupational name for a designer or engineer, the word descending from the pre 10th century Olde French "engineor", a derivative of "engaigne", meaning cunning or ingenious. The word was first used in England to describe civil engineers, who combined the duties and skills of master mason and architect, although the original meaning in the Roman period some thousand years earlier was the designing and building of the famous military seige engines and the like.The early surname development in England included William Enginur of Suffolk in the year 1202, Robert le Ginnur of London in 1229, and Robert Jenour also of Suffolk in 1329. The modern surname is recorded in the spellings of Jenner, Jenoure, Genner, Genower or Ginner, and the name will for ever be associated with the famous Edward Jenner, who discovered vaccination in 1799. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Lenginnur, which was dated 1191, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Yorkshire. This was during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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