This interesting surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of two Irish septs. The surname may have originated from the Gaelic "O'Leannain", descendant of Leannan, a byname meaning "lover, paramour, concubine", or from "O'Lonain", descendant of Lonan, a personal name from a diminutive of "lon", blackbird. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", grandson, male descendant of, or "M(a)c", son of. The (O)Lennons of Fermanagh held the office of "erenage", that is, holder of church property from generation to generation, and the maintainers of priests. The Lennons were erenaghs of Lisgoole near Enniskillen and produced many distinguished ecclesiastics, including six priors or canons of Lisgoole between 1380 and 1466. One Richard Lennon, along with his wife, is recorded as living in the town of St. Michael's in the Barbados in 1680; they were among the earliest settlers of the name in the New World. Noteworthy namebearers include: John Lennon (1768 - 1846), whose daring feats with his ship "Hibernia" are part of American history; and John Lennon, an outstanding member of the Beatles group, who was also involved with the Peace Movement (he was assassinated in 1980). A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield, on a green mount in base a buck browsing proper, the Crest being a buck browsing proper on a green mount. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O'Lennon, erenagh of Eniskillen, which was dated 1380, in the "Annals of the Four Masters", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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