This most interesting and curious surname is of Old French, early medieval English origin, and was probably a nickname given to a lively or frisky youth, from the Old French "faon, foun", Middle English "faun, foun", a young animal, cub, or a young fallow deer. The surname is also found as Faun, Faunce, Fawn, and Fawns, although the Scottish "Fawns" derive their name from the lands of Fans or Faunes in Berwickshire. The first recorded namebearer appears in Scotland in the mid 12th Century (see below) from this latter source. Other early examples of the surname include: John Foun, recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire in 1180; Richard le Found, in the Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire in 1299; and Robert Faun, in London, circa 1390. A Coat of Arms was granted to one William Fownes, Esq., Joint Ranger of the Phoenix Park, High Sheriff of Dublin (1697) and Lord Mayor (1708), whose granddaughter, heiress of the family, Sarah Fownes, married William Tighe, M.P., of Rosana, in 1765; this consists of a red chevron between two silver eagles displayed in chief, armed gold, and a red mullet in base, on an ermine shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Fawnes, which was dated circa 1150, in "Medieval Scottish Records of Mellerstain", during the reign of King David 1 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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