This interesting surname of pre 7th century Olde English origins. It derives from the given name "Stanheard", composed of the elements "stan" meaning stone plus "heard" meaning hardy, brave or strong. As a personal or baptismal name it is typical of the period of history known as the Dark Ages, when the people of Europe longed for strong government in a time of great anarchy and lawlessness. The surname is much later, although even then one of the first to be created anywhere in the world. This was in the century following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The Normans certainly gave the country peace, however in so doing they also tried to destroy the Anglo-Saxon culture. This is a name which has survived the political correctness of that, and should be treasured for that alone. Early examples of the surname recording include: Ralph Stanhard in the pipe rolls of the city of Ely, Cambridgeshire in 1221, and Laurence Stannard in the Subsidy Rolls also of Cambridgeshire in 1327. Spelling forms of the modern surname include: Stannard, Stonard, Stonhard, Stonner, Stanett, Stennard and others. Examples of the surname recording in surviving early church registers include: Astyne Stannarde who married Amyes Valle on April 24th 1576, at St. Mary Somerset, city of London, and Janne Stannard who married Lawrence Lytton on August 7th 1594 at St. Katherine by the Tower (of London). Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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