This surprisingly uncommon name is a variant patronymic form of the early medieval English surname 'New', also found as Newson and Newing. The surname derives from the Middle English word 'newe' used as a nickname applied to someone who was a stranger, a 'newcomer' to an area, and, as with many medieval nicknames, it developed into a surname through habitual use. The Middle English 'newe' was a development of the Old English pre 7th Century 'neowe, niwe'. In some few cases the modern surname may derive from a topographic name for someone who lived by a yew tree, from a common contraction and misdivision of the Middle English phrase 'atten ew'. Newns, as a patronymic name, means either 'son of the newcomer', or as the genitive form of the topographic name, 'of the yew tree'. The marriage of Francis Newns and Elizabeth Chales was recorded at St. James's, Duke's Place, London, on August 22nd 1687. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Neuwe (witness), which was dated 1221, The Warwickshire Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, 'The Frenchman', 1216-1272. 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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