This unusual surname is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name Chun, (of uncertain origin). It is recorded as a personal name in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1273, as Chun Pimme and Chun Pistor, although coincidentaly that year also sees the first recording (see below) of the surname. After the late 14th Century, 'Chun' as a personal disappears completely from all records, but from this time on variations of the surname start to make their appearance. Examples of these forms include Hugh Chone in the 1275 Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire, Robertus Chaume in the Poll Tax Register for Yorkshire in 1379, whilst Thomas Chowme appears in the register of Canterbury Cathedral in 1688. Other examples of the recording include Alice Chown who married John Holmes at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, London, on January 29th 1673, whilst a Coat of Arms was granted to General Chown, of Prospect Park, Reading, having the bazon of a black field, charged with three thatchers hooks in pale, quartering gold, on a bend cotised between two garbs in blue, a black mitre. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Chaum, which was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Lincoln, during the reign of King Edward 1, 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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