Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is a surname of Anglo-Saxon origins. It was a kinship name denoting close relationship to a prominent person, or perhaps an orphan who was brought up by a member of the family. Deriving from the pre 7th century Olde English word "nefa" and the later "neve", which literally mean nephew, the modern surname spellings includes Neave, Neeve, Neve,Neaf, Niave, and the patronymics Neaves, Neeves, and Niaves. The surname itself first appears in the late 13th Century (see below), whilst amongst the early recordings are those of Andrew Neve in the records of Ramsey Monastery, Bedfordshire in the year 1250, Rayner and Walter le Neve in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk in 1273, and John Nieves who was listed in the Hundred Rolls of Essex in the same year. Margrett Neave, a widow of 58 years, from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, and her grandchild Rachell Dixon are recorded in the "Register of Persons about to pass into Foreign Parts", in Ipswich in May 1637. They were early settlers to the Virginia colony of New England. A coat of arms depicting five gold fleurs-de- lis on a black cross, on a silver shield, was granted to the Neave's of Dagnam Park, Essex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Neve. This was dated 1242, in the tax rolls known as the "Feet of Fines" of Kent, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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