This interesting surname is one of the patronymic forms of the male given name "John". The name derived from the Hebrew "Jochanaan" meaning "the Lord is Gracious", and owes its popularity to two important New Testament Characters; John the Babtist, who was Christ's cousin and Forerunner and St. John the Evangelist, who was the "Beloved Disciple". The first notable English bearer was St. John of Beverly, an engaging Anglo-Saxon bishop of York; he encouraged sport among his students, and is claimed as patron of the deaf and dumb, having taught a deaf-mute boy to speak - not by miracle, but by careful training. It's popularity in the West is shown by eighty-two canonized saints, including two Englishmen, and a number of Kings. The surname is first recorded in 1279; Thomas John appears in the Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire, and the patronymic form is first found in the early 14th Century, (see below). The Welsh variant "Jones" appears in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire (1279). Other variants include Johnes, Johnys, Joanes, Joynes, etc.. On November 2nd 1550, Katherine Johns married William Goleboorne, at St. Mary Magdalene's, Old Fish Street, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Johns, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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