This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible meanings, the first being that it is an occupational name for someone who winnowed corn or performed a similar process on crushed metalliferous rock, or a maker of "fans" or winnowing baskets. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "fann", to fan or winnow. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. However, it may also be topographical, and an East Saxon form of the Middle English "fann", translating as "dweller by the marsh", from the Olde English "fenn", marsh, bog. 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. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Fanner, Vannar, Vanner and Vannah. A quotation from Cocke Lorelle's bote, reads, "Barbers, bokebynders, and lymners, Repers, faners, and horners". John Fanner was recorded in Wiltshire in 1562, and Edmund Fanner was christened on November 5th 1595, at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, Stepney, London. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is a gold chevron between three gold leopard's faces on a red shield, the Crest being out of a gold ducal coronet a gold buck's head. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Fanmer, which was dated 1285, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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