This unusual and ancient name is Scottish in origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the lands called 'Duns' in Berwickshire. The modern surname can be found as Dunse and Duns, and is recorded early in Kelso (see below), where Hugh de Duns witnessed the grant of the church of Langtune to the Abbey of Kelso. The placename is derived from the Gaelic word 'dun', fort, an element used in a number of other Scottish placenames such as 'Dun' in the former county of Angus, and 'Dunning', in Perthshire. One William de Duns was custodian of the castle of Temptalloun in 1426, and one Eustachius de Duns was procurator for David of Lauder in 1443. The marriage of William Duns and Isabel Coldwals was recorded at Ancroft in Northumberland on June 14th 1753. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Duns, which was dated circa 1150, Records of Kelso Abbey, during the reign of King David 1, 'King of Scotland', 1124-1153. 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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