Recorded in many forms including Neno, Nenow, Nayno, Nyno, Nino, Ninow, Nano, Nenno, and possibly others, this is a surname which is well recorded in the county of Devonshire, England. There is a tradition that it is of Spanish origin, and a form of Nino, one of the Spanish words for a young child, and that the original nameholders were from the Spanish Armada. It is true that with surnames (almost) anything is possible, however the Spanish Armada was in 1588 and the name is recorded before then. In addition no ship from the Armada went aground in England, and even if it had done, the life expectancy of any survivors would have been measured in seconds! We think it more likely that the modern surname is a fused form of the Olde English pre 7th century "atten-hlaw," meaning a person who lived "at a hill", or even that a "lost" place once existed in one of the surname spellings. The counties of Devon and Cornwall also used to trade with the Spanish Peninsula between the many wars, and therefore it is just possible that a Spaniad called Nino settled in England perhaps as a merchant, and had the sense to become a Protestant. The first church recording that we have found is that of Henrie Nenowe of Iddesleigh in Devon on April 28th 1573, whilst Joana Neno married Josephus Moyse at Winkleigh, Devon, on October 27th 1606, and Richard Nino was a christening witness at Chumleigh on July 12th 1703.
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