It could reasonably be argued that this is the most famous name of all in the Northern hemisphere. Certainly many hundreds of national spellings of which this is one, have derived from the original Hebrew 'Yochanan', which translates as ' He who Jehovah has favoured (with a son)'. Brought back from the Holy Land to Europe and Britain by the Crusaders of the 12th century, the name is recorded in its Latinized spelling of 'Johannes' in the Danelaw Rolls of Lincoln in 1140, whilst Walterus filius Jone (Walter the son of John), is recorded in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Huntingdon.Today the surname is synonymous with Wales, although in fact like the more popular 'Jones' which with Johns and Johnson, is a patronymic form of John, the 'British' origin is more properly English. Examples of the surname recording include such examples as Thomas John in the Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire for the year 1279 in the reign of Edward 1st (1272 - 1307), and Arnold Johan in the 1280 'Letter Book register of London. Robert Johns, was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327, whilst Edward ap-John (a Welsh patronymic form) was archdeacon of Carmarthen in 1509. In Wales the true spelling is 'Ieuan', although it is also arguable that this derives from the bardic 'ieuanc' meaning 'young'. The Coat of Arms most associated with the surname has the blazon of argent, two bars sable, on a chief of the last as many bezants (gold coins). The crest being an arm in armour embowed, grasping a sword. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Pertus Johannis, which was dated 1230, in the "Close Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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