This famous surname recorded in the modern spellings of Kennington, Kenington, Kenchington, and Kensington, is of Olde English pre 7th century origins. It derives from one of probably four such places in Berkshire, Kent, Middlesex, and Surrey, all of whom have the same meaning. They refer to lands specifically owned by the King, the origination being 'Cyne-tun', - the kings lands. As Berkshire is known as Royal Berkshire and Kensington (London), the Royal Borough, the translation cannot really be doubted.However these 'tuns' were most probably hunting grounds, certainly they had little gainful use in any modern sense, but this is quite interesting as it suggests that people who now hold the surname were probably all originally royal officials or servants. What is beyond argument is that these 'places' were amongst the earliest ever recorded being found as Chenitun (Berkshire) in the Anglo-Saxon chronicles of the year 821, Chenetune (Surrey) in the 1086 Domesday Book, and Chintun (Kent) in the register of Canterbury Cathedral for 1072. The surname is later and example include Walter de Keninton of Oxford in 1273, Reginald de Kensington, of Norfolk, also in 1273, Alice Kennington of Westminster on December 9th 1635, and Elzabeth Kenington, also recorded as Kennington, at St Botolphs without Aldgate, London, on November 29th 1663. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ivo de Kenington, which was dated 1272, in the Hundred rolls of the county of Suffolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as '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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