This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon and Old Scandinavian origin, and is a variant of Ravening, a patronymic of the surname Raven. Raven may itself have been a nickname for a dark-haired person, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hraefn", Middle English "raven", a raven; or it may be derived from the Old Norse nickname "Hrafn", of uncertain etymology but most likely meaning raven, and is probably present in placenames such as Ravenscroft and Rawnsley. The "-ing" suffix indicates a patronymic, that is, the surname was taken from the namebearer's father. Other patronymic surnames from this source are Ravens, Revans and Revens, while Revan is a variant of Raven itself. The surname is first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below), while William Rauenyng is mentioned in 1297, in the "Minister's Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall". Jone Ravenyn married Robert Walkeden on September 22nd 1568 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and Susanna Revening married Samuel Simmonds on April 15th 1806 at St. Martin in the Field's, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon Ravening, which was dated 1248, in the "Feet of Fines of Essex", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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