Recorded in many spellings including Hen, Henn, Henne, Heness, Hense, Hennis, Hinse and Hince, this is an English surname. It has however at least two possible origins. Firstly, it may be from the Medieval personal name "Henn", a short form of Henry, itself adopted from an Old Germanic name. Henry was composed of the elements "heim", meaning home, and "ric", power. It was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and became the most popular name in the country being borne by eight kings. Secondly, it have been a nickname for a fussy man, or perhaps the reverse. If so it was derived from the Olde English word "hen", meaning just that. The personal name appears in the Pipe Rolls of London in 1192 as "Henna", and Johannes filius Hen is recorded in the Nottinghamshire Hundred Rolls of landowners in the year1275, whilst Colemannus and Thomas le Hen appear in the Suffolk Hundred Rolls in the same year. In the early surviving church registers of the city of London we have the recordings of Anne Hen at Tottenham in 1581, and of the rare dialectal diminutive with that of Samuel Hince, a witness at St Botolphs without Aldgate, on May 3rd 1752. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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