This interesting surname has two possible sources, the first of which is Anglo-Saxon, and would be a topographical name for someone who lived by a pasture, especially a swine pasture. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "den", (swine) pasture. Topographical names were some of the earliest names to be created, as topographical features, whether natural or man-made, provided obvious and convenient eans of identification. Baldwin de la Denne is noted in the Hundred Rolls of Kent (1275). The surname may also be of early medieval English origin, and derives from "Den", a pet form of the male given name "Denis", from "Dionysos", who was the Greek god of wine and revelry. Denis is the French form and was borne by various early saints, including St. Denis, the martyred 3rd Century bishop of Paris who became the patron of France. It occurs in England from the 12th Century on and is very popular today. William Denn is listed in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. On July 11th 1581, the marriage of Lettice Denne and Richard Waide took place at St. Peter's, Leeds, and James, son of Henry Denne, was christened on April 10th 1611 at St. Mary at Hill, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a blue shield with three ermine bars in chief three gold fleurs-de-lis, the Crest being a demi peacock wings expanded and elevated proper on a green chapeau, turned up ermine. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Denne, which was dated 1160, in the "Archaeological Records of Kent", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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