This interesting and uncommon name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant form of the more familiar surname Stannard, which represents a rare survival of the Olde English pre 7th Century male personal name "Stanheard", in Middle English "Stanhard". The name is composed of the Olde English elements "stan", stone, with "heard", hardy, brave, strong, and is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in a variety of forms, ranging from Stanhard and Stanhart to Stanard(us) and Stanart. One "Stannard" (without surname) is recorded in Suffolk in 1095. The given name proved popular with the Normans, and so was taken into Middle English, unlike many Saxon names forgotten or superseded by Norman ones. It was popular particularly in the Eastern counties of England in the forms Stannard, Ston(h)ard, Stonner, Stanyard and Stannett. Early examples include: Henry Sonhard (1222, Hertfordshire); Laurence Stannard (1327, Cambridgeshire); and John Stonard (1327, Somerset). Recordings of the name from London Church Registers include: the christenings of Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Stanyerd, at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on September 25th 1665, and of William, son of John Stanyard, on January 26th 1675, at St. Mary Aldermary. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Stanhard, which was dated 1221, in "Ecclesiastical Records of Ely", Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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