Recorded in many forms as hown below, this is an English surname. It is topographical for someone who either lived in a nook or corner of land, or a bend in a river, or from a place called called Horney Common, in the county of Sussex. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Old English 'hyrne' and Middle English 'herne'. 'Lurking in hernes, and in lanes blinde'. according to the famous author and poet Geoffrey Chaucer. The villages of Herne in Kent and Hirn in Hampshire are examples of such descriptive placenames. As 'hern' is also the Middle English for Heron, there is a possibility that the name was used as a nickname for a person resembling in some way the bird. The dialectal variants of this name include Hearne, Hurn, Hurne, Hern, Herne, Heron, Horn, and the diminuitive Horneyr. Early examples of the surname recording in the surviving church registers of the city of London include that of Alice, the daughter of Edward Hearne, who was christened on December 5th 1547 at St. Martin Ludgate, Alice Hearne married William Harneyman, on July 23rd 1584, at Allhallows, London Wall, and on December 7th 1590, that of Anne Horney who married Thomas Shininge at St. Stephan's, Coleman Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gunnora de la Hurn, which was dated 1279, Curia Rolls Hampshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. 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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