This unusual name is of Cornish origin, and has two possible interpretations, although the derivation in each case is from the Cornish "carn", tor, rock, crag, or pile or rocks. The surname may firstly be locational in origin, from any of the places in Cornwall named with this element; these include: Carne in Veryan; Carn Brea, a hill in the Illogan area; and Carn Towan, in Sennen. Carne in Veryan is recorded as "Kern" in 1513, and is thought to be so called with reference to the barrow named Carne Beacon; King Gerent, the 8th Century king of Cornwall, was believed to lie buried there in a boat. The surname may also be topographical in origin, and would have been used in the first instances to denote someone who lived by or near a "carn", a tor or rocky place. The well-known Scottish topographical name Cairns is cognate with the Cornish Carne. Examples of the surname from Church Registers include the recordings of the christening of Margery, daughter of Humfre Carne, at Totnes in Devonshire, on July 12th 1568, and the marriage of John Carne and Annes Myldon on August 8th 1574, at Breage in Cornwall. Sir Edward Carne (died 1561) was a distinguished bearer of the name, being successively envoy and ambassador to the pope, and knighted by Charles V, the H.R.E. (1519 - 1558). The family Coat of Arms depicts three black lions passant on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edward Carne, which was dated 1524, Doctor of Civil Law at Oxford University, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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