The origin of this ancient surname seems simple, and to be locational from the county of Devon in the West of England. However this is certainly not so in many cases. Found today in the spellings of Devon and Devons, the origin is often French and a development of the word 'devin'. This word describes 'a divine person', probably a hermit, certainly one given to good works. The first recording as shown below could of course be satirical, the people of the medieval period were given to robust attitudes! The persecution of the Hugenots in Northern Europe lead to a major immigration into the British Isles between the years 1580 and 1750. Amongst these people were some named De Vaine and De Vienne, and these seem to have been ancestors of many later Devon and Devons. Examples of the early recordings include Isaac De Vienne, christened at the French Church, Threadneedle Street, London on June 1st 1625, and Isaac Devaine, christened at the same church on October 9th 1736. Whether Guilelmus Devon who married to Elizabeth Latham at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on December 16th 1665, actually came from Devon is not proven. John Devaynes was christened at the same church on July 6th 1726, whilst on February 13th 1820, John Devanes was christened at St Peters, Liverpool, and on July 31st 1851 Elizabeth Devons married Richard Hanley at St Nicholas church, also Liverpool, Lancashire. The coat of arms was granted to the Devaynes. It has the blazon of a silver field, a black fesse, and in chief a red cross. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Le Devin, which was dated 1187, the Pipe Rolls of the county of Hereford, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The church builder', 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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