This distinguished surname is of medieval French origin, and derives from the male given name "Alexandre", which was popular in various spellings throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. The name ultimately derives from the Greek "Alexandros", a compound of "alexein", to defend, plus "aner" (genitive "andros"), man; hence, "defender of men". In Homer's "Iliad", this name was bestowed as a title of honour on Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, for saving his father's herdsmen from a gang of cattle-rustlers, and it became hereditary among the Macedonian kings. Alexander the Great (356 - 323 B.C.), who extended his dominions from Greece to the Punjab, was the most famous holder of the given name. Thomas Alexander, noted in the 1283 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk, was the earliest recorded bearer of the surname in England. On June 17th 1636, the christening of Claudon, daughter of Nicolas and Ginette Alexandre, took place at Cons-la-Grandville, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. The surname Alexandre appears in London French Huguenot Church Registers from the mid 17th Century, having been introduced by Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country. On August 7th 1659, Jean Alexandre, an infant, was christened in the Threadneedle Street French Huguenot Church, and on January 17th 1722, Jean, son of Guillaume Alexandere, was christened in the same place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Abraham Alexandre, which was dated October 23rd 1583, christened at Badonville, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, during the reign of King Henry 111 of the House of Valois, 1574 - 1589. 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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