Recorded in several spellings including Runcie, the name of a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Runcey, Runsey, the occupational Runciman, Runcieman and Runchman, this is an English surname of pre-medieval origins. It is believed to originate from the pre 7th century Olde English word "runcy", a term for a high stepping horse, later known as a hackney. As such the surname may have been a nickname for either a keeper and breeder of such horses, or with the suffix '-man' have referred to a person who was the friend or even manservant, of somebody called Runcie. Probably the first recording in any spelling is that of Roger Rouncy who appears in the Eynsham Charters of the city of Oxford in the year 1230, whilst Lawrence Rouncy who may well have been related and perhaps a son, is also recorded in the same charters, but in 1276. Even earlier the itinery of King Richard 1st of England, 1189 - 1199, mentions that a Walter de Burton, given as being the personal vallet to the king 'rode upon a rouncie'. Other recordings include Arthur Runciman who was married in London in 1697, whilst a century later James Runcie married Mary Burton at St Georges chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster, in 1797.
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