Recorded in the spellings of Queen (English), and Quene, Quenet, Quenel, and Queneau, this is a surname of French origins. Introduced into England by the Protestant Huguenot refugees of the 16th century, it was formerly in medieval times either a topgraphical name for a person who lived by a prominent oak tree and probably a parish boundary marker, from the Picardy word chene, or it may have been a metonymic for a keeper of hounds, or a nickname from the word chien, meaning dog. It is also possible that some some name holders, it developed from the ancient Breton and Celtic word "cwen" which does mean a queen. In this case it would have been a theatrical name, for a man who played the part of a queen, at a time when before the English Civil War of 1640 - 1660, all parts in a play were taken by men as it was considered unseemly for a woman to be subjected to the taunts and jests of an audience! The surname has always been rare, but early examples taken from surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London in Elizabethan times include: Margaret Quene at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on May 26th 1565, Jeanne Quien, the daughter of Paul Quien, who was christened at Threadneedle Street French Church, on February 8th 1607, and John Queen, who was christened at St Sepulchre church, also in the city of London, on August 1st 1714.
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