This most interesting and unusual surname, found almost exclusively in the Channel Islands, is a variant of "Quene", itself of Old French origin, and is composed of the French definite article "le", and "chesnai", meaning oak tree or oak grove, from the medieval Latin "casnetum". Hence, the surname is either locational or topographical in origin. As a locational name it may derive from any of the places named with the Old French "chesnai", such as Quesnay in Calvados and La Manche, Le Quesnay in Seine-Inferieure, or Quesnay-Gueson in Calvados.As a topographical name it denoted residence near a conspicuous oak tree, or oak forest. In some instances, the surname may have originated as a nickname for a man with "a heart of oak". The surnames Cheyney, Cheyne, Chaney and Chene, as well as Quesne, also derive from these sources. Other early recordings include William de Chesne, a charter witness in Scotland in 1200, and a William de Chesnei was mentioned in the Curia Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1205. Jean Le Quesne married Elizabeth de Carteret on July 3rd 1605 at St. John's, Jersey, while Abraham Le Quesne married Anne Le Sebirel on January 12th 1608, also at St. John's. A Coat of Arms was granted to a "Le Quesne" family and depicts a red lion passant on a silver shield, with the Motto "Suis ducibus ubique fidelis". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Radulfus de Caisned, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Sussex, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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