This is a genuine French Huguenot refugee surname, although its origins go back into French history. It derives from the pre 12th Old French 'Cornier' a word which describes a trumpeter or herald, and a position of considerable importance. The equivalent English surname is Corner, which dates back to the Norman invasion of 1066. Cornu, also recorded as Cornau, Cornuau, and Cornier, is much later, and was introduced into England in the time of the persecution of the Protestants by the Catholics from the early 16th century. In this case the first proven recording in the original spelling as shown below is slightly later. The coat of arms is almost unique, and probably the second most distinguished in history. It is no less than the blue cross on a white field, and as such is second only to the red cross of the crusaders, on the same background. It was granted in Picardy, the date being approximately 1390 a.d., at the time of the great wars between France and England. The recordings of the surname in England include Garman de Cornu, who married Mary Carles at the famous church of St Botolphs Bishopgate, London on May 14th 1676, whilst on Christmas Day 1753, Francois Cornuau, the daughter of Pierre and Marie (nee Ruaut), was christened at the French Huguenot Church known as 'La Patente', in Leicester Square, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Pierre Cornu, which was dated May 4th 1606, a witness at Threadneedle Street Huguenot Church, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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