This unusual and interesting name has two possible origins, both dating from Anglo-Saxon (pre-Norman) times. The first of these is a locational source, in which the modern surname derives from the place called 'Cann' in Dorset, which is recorded as 'Canna' in circa 1100, and means '(the settlement in) the deep valley', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word 'canna', can, used in the transferred sense of a deep valley. In some cases, the modern surname may also be topographical, denoting residence in such a valley; this usage was confined mainly to South West England. The second possible origin for the surname also derives from the Old English 'canne', here used as a metonymic occupational name for a canner, a maker or seller of cans, as in Bartholomew Canne, recorded in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. The marriage of John Cann and Katherine Jeles was recorded at All Hallows, London Wall, in London, on March 21st 1681. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Canne, which was dated 1276, The Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 1, 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272-1307. 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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