This is an ancient Anglo-Saxon occupational surname for someone employed as a tanner of animal skins and hides, an important skill in medieval times when leather was used in the manufacture of everyday items such as buckets, shoes and clothes, and of course harness, saddlery and armour for the men at arms and knights. The English derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "tannere", from the Late Latin "tannarius", which was reinforced by the Old French verb "taneor", introduced by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066.The ultimate derivation is thought to be from an ancient Celtic word for the oak (tree), whose bark was used in the tanning process. The surname development includes Lemmer le Tannur (1175, Yorkshire), and Philip le Tannour (1273, Huntingdonshire). One Daniell Tanner was an early settler in America; he is listed as one of those living in "Elizabeth City" in Virginia, in February 1623. A Coat of Arms was granted to the Right Rev. John Tanner, Bishop of Derry, in 1613, which depicts three gold crosses "formee fitchee", on a black chief, with a gold shield. Coats of Arms were also granted to John Tanner, of Brannell, in Cornwall in 1620 and Tanner families at Kingsnympton, in Devon; at Salisbury, in Wiltshire; Sherborne and Wimborne, in Dorset; and at Ashted, in Surrey; as well as in County Limerick (in 1658). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Taneur, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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