Recorded in many spellings as shown below, this is an Anglo-Irish surname. It has two quite distinct origins. If English it would originally have been locational from any of the places such as Herne in the county of Kent and Hurn in Hampshire, or it may have described someone who lived in a house on a corner of land or the bend of a river. The derivation in all cases being from the pre 6th century word 'hyrne'. There is a quotation from the famous medieval writer Geoffrey Chaucer which refers to - 'Lurking in hernes, and in lanes blinde'. If Irish the origination is from the ancient Gaelic surname O' hEachthigheirn. This loosely translates as 'Lord of the horse' from the word 'each' meaning horse, and 'tighearna' - lord. The surname as Ahearne and Hearn is much associated with County Cork. The modern spellings include: O' Aherne, Ahearne (Irish) and Hearn, Hearne(Anglo Irish), Hearnah, which is apparently Irish, but found only in England, and Herne, Hern, Hurn, and Hurne which wherever found are English. Examples of recordings from early surviving church registers include Alan O' hAchierane given as being the bishop of Kerry (Ireland) in 1336, Edward Hearn, christened at St. Martin Ludgate's, in the city of London, on December 6th 1579, and John Ahearne (1769 - 1806), an officer in Napoleon's Irish Legion. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Gunnora de la Hurn. This was dated 1279, in the Curia Regis rolls of Hampshire, England, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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