Derived from the Olde French 'seignour' itself from the Latin 'senior', the word means 'the elder or the chief', and may have been given to a 'Lord of the Manor' but was more likely a nickname surname for either the village elder or one who aped the Lord, or perhaps acted the part in the local pageants or theatre. Similar title surnames being King, Bishop, Lord etc. although 'knight' in fact actually referred to a horsed soldier. The name has no less than fourteen modern versions including Senior, Seniour, Seignior, Senyard, Sainer, Saynor, Sinyard etc., the name developments including Edmund Seignyowr (1302 York), Robert le Seynur (1275 Suffolk) and William Synyer (York 1372). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Waltur Seignure which was dated 1164, in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk during the reign of King Henry 11, known as the Builder 1154-1189 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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