Recorded as Cann and Canner, this is an English surname. It 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. This 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', which does mean a vessel, although probably not a metal can as we would know it today, but possibly a helmet. Either way it is used in the transferred sense of a hollow. 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 derives from the word 'canne', and this was definately used to describe a maker or seller of cans. An early example is that of Bartholomew Canner, recorded in the Tax Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1327, whilst later the marriage of John Cann and Katherine Jeles was recorded at All Hallows, London Wall, on March 21st 1681. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Canne. This was dated 1276, in the Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls of landowners, during the reign of King Edward 1st. He was known as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272-1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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