This interesting name is a pet form of the Ancient Greek "Alexandros", which gives us the modern "Alexander", and probably originally meant "defender of men", from the Greek "alexein", to defend, and "aner", man. Alexander gained in popularity in the Middle Ages as a result of the exploits of Alexander the Great (356 - 323 B.C.). The "s" at the ending signifies a patronymic name, "son of Saunder". The name itself was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. The medieval personal name is recorded as "Sandre", circa 1248, in Selected Documents of the Abbey of Bec, Oxford. William Sandre or Saundre was mentioned in 1316 in the Assize Court Rolls of Kent, while the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire mention one Richard Saunder in 1332. Admiral Sir Charles Saunders was Wolf's Naval Commander at the Conquest of Canada in 1759. Laurence Saunders (died 1555), was educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge 1554; he was apprehended by Bonner and condemned for heresy and burned at Coventry. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Sandres, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcester", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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