This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of the surnames created from a personal name which was popular in the Middle Ages in both the Middle English form "Gawayne" as well as the Old French "Gauvin" and the Scottish "Gavin". This was the name of the son of King Arthur's sister in the Arthurian romances, one of the knights of the Round Table, and the brother of Galahad and Mordred. The name is thought to be of ancient Welsh origin; in the Welsh Arthurian tales it is found as "Gwalchmai", "Hawk of the plain", but may also derive from "Gwalchgwyn", "White Hawk". The development of the personal name reflects the variant forms of the surname from this source, and the common substitution of "w" for "g": Wawanus (1208), Gawyne (1279), Gaven (1631), and Gawne (1653). The surname can be found as Gavin, Gaven, Gawen, Gawn(e), Gauv(a)in, and Wawn(e). Among the recordings of the name in Gloucestershire is that of the marriage of Richard Gawne and Joanna Hall at Minchinhampton, on the 17th of June 1584. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Emma Gawyn, which was dated 1379, in the "Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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