This unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is a variant of the regional surname 'Cornish'. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th century word 'cornisc', itself from Kernow, the native name used by the Cornish to denote themselves. This is thought to mean 'horn' or 'headland', with the adjectival suffix 'isc'. The Old English form has produced the modern surname 'Cornish', whilst the variants Corns, Corness, Cornes and Curness all derive from the Norman-French form of Corneys. These names are, not surprisingly, frequently recorded in the neighbouring county of Devonshire, and they are also well established in such distant counties as Essex and Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Badekoc Korneys. This was dated 1296, in 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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