Recorded in many spelling forms including: Thin, Thinn, Thing, Thying, Thyng, Thynn and Thynne, this is an English medieval surname. It is generally accepted as being a nickname for a slender or lean person, or possibly given the robust humour of Chaucerian times, the complete reverse! It derives from the pre 7th century Olde English word 'thynne', a word which also in a transferred sense has been used locationally as in the place name "Thwing", a village in East Yorkshire, for which the meaning is long and thin. This village is known to have given rise to surnames in the spelling of Thwing, but this may also apply to the surname as Thying. The surname emerged in its modern form by the early part of the thirteenth century (see below), and early examples of the recordings include: Gilbert Thynne in the Assize Rolls of Northumberland for the year 1269, whilst Francis Thyne is recorded as marrying Elizabeth Delarivers at the famous church of St. Mary-le-Bow, city of London, on November 16th 1565. Interestingly William Thynne who died in 1546, is believed to have been the first editor of the printed works of Chaucer. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Thin. This was dated 1218, in the Assize Rolls of the city of Taunton in Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111 of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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