Recorded in several spellings including Nonne, Nunn, Nunne and the patronymic Nunns, this surname is English. It probably for many nameholders originated in medieval times as a nickname for a virtuous and charitable person. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'nunne' itself coming from the Latin 'nonna', and meaning a nun. The surname from this source is first recorded in the mid 12th Century, (see below). Early recordings include Alice Nunne, a witness at the 1243 Assize Court of County Durham, and Robert le Nunne in the register of Ramsey Abbey', Huntingdonshire in 1272. It is also possible that the name could be occupational for one who worked at a nunnery. Other examples which seem to bear out this alternative include Robert del Nunnes and Roger o' the Nonnes in 1297 and 1309 respectively, and a John atte Nunnes in the 1325 'Close Rolls' of London. 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, which was dated circa 1154 in the Register of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England. He was known as 'The Church Builder', 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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