This rare and interesting name is of French origin and is an occupational name for an almoner, an important position in medieval society. The almoner would be responsible for the distribution of alms, the charitable relief of the poor, and would either be a part of a religious community, a kings court, or nobleman's household. 'Dr. Fox, the Kynges Amner made an eloquent oration in Latin'. (Hall's Chronicles 1548) 'was Jesu Crist ammoner?' (Cursor Hundi 1300) 'Hir bond mynistre of fredom and almesse' (Chaucer). The derivation of this name is from the French 'aumonier', meaning Chaplain, the Olde French 'aumore', alms, the ultimate being the Greek 'eleemosyne', which means mercy. The word did not acquire a concrete monetary sense until later. Two marriages of name bearers recorded in London are between one Elizabeth Amner and John Spencer at St. Dionis Backchurch in 1697, and between Richard Amner and Francis Owen in 1773 at St. George, Hanover Square. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Aumoner, which was dated in the Close Rolls, circa 1216, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as the Frenchman, 1216 - 1272. 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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