This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Swinburn in Northumberland. The placename, recorded as "Swineburn" in the 1236 Book of Fees, derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "swin", pig, wild boar, with "burna", spring, brook, stream; hence "pig stream". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below), and can also be found as Swinburn, Swinbourn and Swinbourne. Robert de Swynebourne is listed in the 1325 "Calendar of Inquisitiones post mortem" of Gloucestershire, and Robert Swynbourn is noted in the Essex Feet of Fines (1382). John Swinburne married Cecily Dodsworth on May 18th 1568 at Settrington, Yorkshire, and George Swinburne married Margerie Anderson on October 15th 1587 at St. Nicholas', Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a shield divided per fess red and silver with three cinquefoils counterchanged, the Crest being out of a gold ducal coronet a silver boar rampant, crined gold and langued gold. The Motto "Semel et semper" translates as "Once and always". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Swynburn, which was dated 1256, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Northumberland", 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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