This interesting surname, with variant spelling Cornes, derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "Cornisc", Cornish, a compound of "corn" from a Celtic element "kernow" meaning "horn" or "headland", plus the adjectival suffix "isc", and was originally given as a regional name to someone from the county of Cornwall. The surname was first recorded towards the end of the 13th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include: Adam Cornys - "The Calendar of Early Mayor's Court rolls", (1300); John Corneys, (Suffolk, 1327), and Henry Cornysh, (Calander of Pleas for London, 1375). The surname is particularly well recorded in the bordering county of Devon from the mid 16th Century. On April 23rd 1557, Agnes Cornish, an infant, was christened in Bridford, Devon. Thomas Cornish, an early emigrant to the New World, was recorded on a list of the inhabitants of Virginia on February 16th 1623, and Henry Cornish, Alderman of London, was elected sheriff of London in 1680. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Badekoc Korneys, which was dated 1296, The Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, "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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