This very interesting medieval name is English and occupational, but strictly speaking of French origins. Recorded as Fender, Finder, Fiander, Fyander, Finders, Fenders, and occassionally Feander, it derives from the French word "defendre," later shortened to "fendour". As such it described a member of a town guard or militia, a person paid to defend the gates and walls, and who may also have been a local champion at arms. In the 13th century as an official post, it had powers of arrest. In later years the name came to have the additional meaning of "fireman," one who patrolled the narrow streets watching for potential fire hazards. The name is well recorded in both England and Scotland, an example being William Fender registered in Edinburgh as a "dag maker" in 1578. In the registers of Greater London recordings included George Fynder, christened at St. Giles Cripplegate in 1595, Elizabeth Fender who married John Cooh, also at St. Giles in 1597, whilst William Feander was a christening witness at St. Mary's Rotherhithe, in Kent, on January 15th 1804. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Fendour. This was dated 1315, in the Pipe Rolls of the city of London, during the reign of King Edward 11nd, 1307 - 1327. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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