This interesting and unusual name, with variant spelling Hunwin , Unwin and Unwins derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Hunwine", a compound of the elements "hun" bearcub, plus "wine", friend, hence "bear-friend". Later in the Olde English or early Middle English period, this name, due to the loss of the "h", came to be confused with the word "unwine" meaning "unfriend" or "enemy". This is probably the source of the surname in some cases. In the Domesday Book of 1086, the name is recorded as "Hunuuinus" and "Onouuinus" for Cambridge and Dorset. The surname was first recorded at the end of the 12th Century (see below). William Unwin appears as a witness in the Assize Rolls for Shropshire, 1221, and Edmund Hunwine was noted in the 1283 Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk. John Unwin married Elizabeth Ferris on June 24th 1654, in St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rannulf Unwine, which was dated 1195, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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