Considering the relative rareness of this surname, it is surprising to find at least two recordings in the 1086 Domesday book from as far apart as Suffolk and Yorkshire. Strictly speaking these recordings in the spelling of "Suneman" are not surnames, they are the only name, the first true surname form being as shown below at the very beginning of the 13th century. It is believed that the origin is Saxon pre 7th century rather then Olde English, the suffix "man(n)" can refer to a wide variation of meanings including friend, relative or even servant. "Sunna" is a tribal name, generally from Berkshire as in the village of Sunningdale, the meaning is obscure but is probably associated with the sun. It is perhaps surprising that the name survived the Norman Invasion of 1066 and it is one of quite a rare group. The surname development includes the following recordings predominantly from East Anglia, William Coneman, (1275) in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk, Simon Sonewyne (1326) in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk, and Thomas Sunman, christened at Teversham, Cambridge, on March 1st 1594. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Suneman, which was dated 1200, in the "Pipe Roll records of Norfolk", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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