This unusual name, recorded as Cheavin, Chevin, Chevins, and Chevis, is of pre 9th century French origin. It derives from the word "chevesne" meaning a fish, or specifically a chub, a fish with two barbes. The chub was also known as "the stately fish", so this presumes that the surname is a nickname for a fisherman, perhaps one who was held in some standing. However the name may also have another meaning in that in the medieval times a "chevin" was a form of hinge or the bolt of a hinge. If so the surname may be occupational and refer to a maker of hinges. Either way the word was probably introduced into Britain after the 1066 Norman Invasion, when French became the official language of England. The surname is 13th century, a time when the majority of people began to receive them. The surname is not surprisingly equally well recorded in France, where the spellings are usually Chevene, Chevanne, and Chevin. An early example of the surname recording is that of Simon Chevyn, in the 1327 Subsidy rolls of the city of Canbridge. The first known recording of the family name is believed to be that of Margaret Chyuin, in the charters of the manor of Barnwell, Oxfordshire. This was dated 1295, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "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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