This uncommon and intriguing name is of Old French and medieval English origin, and is a metonymic occupational surname for a maker of flawns, a kind of custard or pancake. The name derives from the Old French word "flaon", introduced into English after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and adopted into Middle English as "flaun, flawn", The 15th Century printer William Caxton's "Boke for Travellers" mentions these pancakes: "of mylke and of egges, men make flawnes", while "flat as a flawn" was the medieval equivalent of the modern "flat as a pancake".The surname development in London includes the following examples: Margaret Flawne (1577), Richard Flanne (1598), George Flaune (1602), and John Flan (1604). Another modern surname to derive from this source is "Flanner", from the Old French "flaonnier, flaunier", maker of flawns. The marriage of Michael Flawn and Elizabeth Lovell was recorded at St. James's, Duke's Place, London, on October 11th 1692. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elena Fflaun, which was dated 1327, in the Cambridgeshire Subsidy Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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