This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is occupational for a stonecutter, one who cut and dressed stone. The name is derived from the Middle English (1200 -1500) 'stanyer', from the Old English pre 7th Century 'stan', stone, and a reduced form of 'hewer', an agent derivative of 'hew(en)', to cut, chop, from the Old English 'heawan', assimilated to the agent suffix -(i)er. The name development since 1279 (see below) includes the following: Richard Stener (1379, Yorkshire), John Stonehewer (1605, Cheshire) and Nathaniell Stanyar (1689, Cheshire). The surname was more commonly known as Stonhewer in the mid to late 16th Century; the modern surname can be found as Stanier, Stanyer, Stonier and Stonhewer, and is found mainly in Staffordshire. Among the sample recordings in Staffordshire are the marriage of Roger Stanier and Ann Hawkins on July 17th 1692 at Mucklestone, and the christening of Francis, son of Richard and Elizabeth Stanier, on February 2nd 1734 at Biddulph. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Stonhewar, which was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, 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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