Recorded as Rawn, Rawne, Rawns, Rawen, Rawing and possibly Rawme and Roume, this is a very interesting and rare surname. The variety and spread of the spellings suggest that the surname is or rather was, locational, from some lost or perhaps diminished medieval village, but if this was the case we have not been able to positively identify any such place. Locational surnames are by their nature "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identificarion, after they left their former homes to move somewhere else. Spelling in ancient times being at best erratic, and local dialects very thick, often lead to the creation of "sounds like" spellings. We do believe although without definate proof, that the name may originate from Rawnsley, a definately "lost" village formerly in the county of Yorkshire or even Rawdon, which still exists. Rawnsley may mean "red farm," in that it is known that Rawdon means red hill, and the suffix originally leah, and now -ley, means an area cleared for agriculture or a farm. Early examples of recordings include Thomas Rawne or Rawen at Christ Church Greyfriars, in the city of London, on March 18th 1683, and William Rawns at Parham in Suffolk, on December 23rd 1787, when he married Rebecca Frost.
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