This interesting surname with the spelling forms Don, Done, Dunn, Dunne, Donn and Donne, may be either Celtic - Gaelic or Anglo-Saxon in origin. It is recored in all parts of the British Isles, including Ireland, and it derives usually either from the Old Gaelic "donn", or the Old English pre 7th Century "dunn", both have the same meaning of "brown", and in both cases the name was probably originally given as a distinguishing nickname to someone with dark hair or a swarthy complexion. This may have been a national characteristic of the Old English and Celtic races, since the invading Vikings and Anglo-Saxons of the period were either fair or red haired. In some cases the name could be topographical for a person who lived by a "dun" or hill. The surname is first recorded in England in the latter part of the 12th Century, (see below)and early examples of the name recording include John le Dunn, in the 1198 "Fine court Rolls of Hertfordshire, whilst Jobin Don appears in the Staffordshire Forest Pleas, dated 1271. Adam le Don or le Dun, was recorded in the 1275 "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire" and in a "Calendar of documents relating to Scotland" Patrick de Dun was canon of Glasgow. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Dun, which was dated 1180, in the "Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire", 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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