Recorded as Lesaunier, Lesaulnier, Salinier, Sauniere, Saulnier, Saunier, (French) and Sonier, Soner, Sonner, Sunner (English), this is a surname of occupational origins. It derives from the pre medieval French word "sel" meaning salt, and describes either a salt merchant (marchand de sel) or someone who comes from a place where salt is produced. This is usually Salinier, the name of a number of places in the departments of Creuse, Saone-et-Loire and Charente. It is unclear as to when the surname was first introduced into the British Isles, although this was probably at or shortly after the famous Conquest of 1066. What we do know is that it was a popular surname amongst the Huguenot Protestant refugees of the 17th and 18th centuries. They fled France coming mainly to Britain to avoid Roman Catholic persecution by King Louis X1Vth of France who was a religious bigot of the first order. Examples of the the surname recordings taken from surviving church registers of the city of London include John Sonners at Christ Church Greyfriars, on July 15th 1567, Jean Saunier at the French church, Threadneedle Street, on July 5th 1696, Mary Sunnier, christened at St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on May 17th 1754, and James Sunner, a christening witness at St Pauls Deptford, in Kent, on September 21st 1850.
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