This interesting name is of Medieval English origin and has two possible meanings, the first being that it is an occupational name for someone who winnowed corn or performed a similar process on crushed metalliferous rock, or a maker or 'fans' or winnowing baskets. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century fann, to fan or winnow. However it may also be East Saxon form of the Middle English 'fann', dweller by the marsh. In the modern idiom the variants include Fanner, Vannar, Vanner and Vannah. 'Barbers, bokebynders, and lymners, Repers, faners, and horners'. (Cocke Lorelle's bote). One John Fanner is recorded in Wiltshire in 1562, and Edmund Fanner was christened on November 5th 1595 at St. Mary, Whitechapel, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Fanmer, which was dated 1285, in the Assize Rolls of Essex, 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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