This interesting and unusual surname is generally accepted as being of Old French origin, and as such was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. However it is not as simple as that at all. The name is also well recorded in Ireland, and has been since before the 15th century. Whether this is also as a result of a Norman-Welsh "importation" at the time of the invasion by Strongbow, earl of Pembroke in 1169, or whether it is an anglicisation of the Gaelic O'Daimhin, is far from clear. Possibly both may well be the answer. Certainly in England the name is one of that large group of early surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of a nickname. In this instance the nickname was given with either literal or ironic intentions, and is derived from the French word "devin", meaning excellent or perfect. This was originally from the Latin "divinus", divine or god-like, from "deus", meaning god. The early recordings of the name such as that of Nicholas Devin below, show the typical medieval use of "u" for "v". The modern surname can be found as Devin, Devine, Davin, Devane, Devine, Devinn, Deavin and Divine. Examples of the surname recordings include the marriage of Joseph Deavin and Sarah Humphrys at St. James's church, Westminster, on December 29th 1783, whilst Professor Edward Devine (1867-1940) was dean of Columbia University, in the United States of America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas le Deuin, or le Diuin, which was dated 1187, in the Herefordshire county Pipe Rolls, 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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