According to the International Genealogical Index the spellings of this very interesting English surname include Nun, Nunn, Nunne, Naan, Nann, Neane, Noon, Noone, Noun, Noune, and the patronymics Nouns, Nowns and Nunns. Although it means literally 'The nun,' it was probably originally either occupational for a male who worked at a nunnery, or for an actor, one who played the part of nun in the travelling theatres of the time, or even a nickname for a virtuous person, or perhaps, given the robust humour of the time, the exact opposite! The derivation is from the pre 7th century word 'nunne' itself from the Latin 'nonna'. The surname from this source is first recorded in the mid 12th Century, (see below). Early recordings include Alice Nunne, a witness at the Assize Court of County Durham in 1243, and Robert le Nunne in the register of Ramsey Abbey', Huntingdonshire in 1272. Other examples include Robert del Nunnes and Roger o' the Nonnes in 1297 and 1309 respectively. On April 15th 1635 Richard Nunn, aged nineteen, embarked from London on the ship 'Increase' bound for New England. He was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eluiua Nonna. This was dated 1154, in the register of the abbey of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England. 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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