This interesting name is in most cases of early medieval English origin, from a nickname given to someone who worked at a clergy house, or who gained the name from his dignified or clerical behaviour. The surname derives from the Middle English "canun", canon, a clergyman living with others in a clergy house; the medieval term is a development of the Old French "canonie, canoine", introduced after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and subsequently absorbing the Old English pre 7th Century form "canonic". The ultimate derivation is from the Greek "kanon", rule, measure, in Latin "canon", rule, discipline, giving "canonicus", the source of the Old English word. In some cases the surname Cannon, also found as Canon and Channon, may be an Anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic "O'Canain", from "cana", wolf-cub, or "MacCanannain", son of Canannan, derived from "cana" as before. One John Cannon was christened at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, in June 1569. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald Canun, which was dated 1177, in the "Cambridgeshire Pipe Rolls", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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