This rather unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it may be topographical describing "a dweller in the dene or valley", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "denu", meaning valley; the "y" in this instance is intrusive for euphony. The other possible origin is an example of a surname from a medieval nickname for "a man of little substance", from the name of a very small medieval coin, the "denier", the word comes from the Latin "denarius", a derivative of "decem", ten, since the Roman coin was worth ten asses. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. While a sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, and to habits of dress. The christening was recorded in London of Bridget, daughter of George and Martha Denyer, on March 14th 1679, at Christchurch, Southwark. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matilda Denyer, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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