Recorded in the spellings of Canning and Cannings, this is an English surname. It is locational from (now) two places in Wiltshire called 'All Cannings' and 'Bishops Cannings', the latter place being owned by the bishop of Salisbury for many centuries. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Olde English 'Caningas' meaning 'The Cana people' - a tribal name of uncertain origins. The surname is also widely recorded in Ireland, and it is said that two Canning's families came to County Derry in 1615, and were active in organizing the plantation of Ulster. In addition two Gaelic Irish families, the O' Cainin's of Counties Westmeath and Offaly, and the Cannon's of County Donegal have occasionally anglicized their name to Canning. The surname figured largely in the national affairs of the British Empire during the 18th and 19th century with such luminaries as the statesman George Canning, murdered by the Fenians in 1827, whilst Stratford Canning, (1786 - 1880) and the 1st Viscount Redcliffe, was nominated Governor General of Canada in 1840, but refused the post, preferring to be the ambassador to Turkey. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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