This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an occupational name for the rearer or seller of capons. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "capun", from the latin "capo", a capon, and the suffix "-er", which denotes a person engaged in a profession, occupation. Capon was a breed of fowl that were considered a delicacy, and were fattened for eating. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The surname is most widespread in the Lincolnshire, Warwick area. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Capner, Capener, Cappineer, Capponer, Capineer, Capponeer, Capnor and Capenor. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Jane, daughter of Robert Capenner, which took place at St. Botolph's, Sibson, Leicestershire, on March 20th 1603; the marriage of John Capener and Margaret Simons on October 16th 1623, at Mancetter, Warwickshire; and the christening of Robert, son of John Capener, which took place on October 30th 1625, at Ratcliffe Culey, Leicestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Capnor, which was dated December 10th 1567, witness at the christening of his son, William, at Allhallows, London Wall, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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