This rare and interesting surname, recorded as Keener and Keenor, is believed to be of late medieval English origins. It is said to be either locational or residential, probably being from a now "lost" medieval village in the ancient county of Devonshire. It is believed that this lost village, of which there are over five thousand examples in the British Isles, was called Kyner or Kinner, but this is not certain. Today there are still two village in Devonshire called "Kenn", and it is also possible that the surname holders may derive from these, the suffix "er" being used in medieval times to denote somebody who lived or worked at a particular place. The word "kenn" is an ancient word for a river, and the earliest placename recording is in the famous Domesday Book of the year 1086 where they appear as "Chent". Later in the land tax charters of the county known as "The Feet of Fines" for the year 1200, the spelling is "Kenne". The phenomenon of the 'lost' village was a result of enforced land clearance to aid agriculture, although civil war and continuing plagues played their parts. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William Kyner, who was christened at the village of Parkham, Devon, on April 7th 1552. This was during the reign of King Edward V1 of England , known as 'The Boy King", and who reigned from 1547 to 1553. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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