This very interesting surname of English origin, but with French antecedents. It is either a topographical name for someone who lived by a vineyard, or it maybe occupational name for someone who probably owned one. The name derives from the old English (and Old French) pre 7th Century "win" meaning "vine" or "wine" plus "geard" a "yard" or "enclosure". The surname church recordings appear to commence in the mid 16th Century, but it is certain that earlier recordings remain to be discovered amongst the land charters and court registers.Variations include Venard, Vanyard, Vynarde, Vannoort, etc.. and recording examples include Henrie Vynararde who married Anne Lane, on May 25th 1562 at St. Mary Aldermary, London, and Elizabeth Vennard who married William Harrison on February 2nd 1604 at St Dunstans, Stepney, London. John, the son of John and Amey Vennard was christened on November 3rd 1650 also at St Dunstans. Amongst the interesting namebearers was Richard Vennard who died in 1615. He was an author of religious tracts, having studied at Balliol College in Oxford. A less fortunate name holder was William Veryard (as spelt) who was taken prisoner at the battle of Sedgemoor (The Monmouth Rebellion) in 1685, and transported as a slave to Barbadoes. His fate is not known. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alyce Vyneyarde, which was dated 1551, who was christened at St Margaret's Westminster, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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