Recorded as Fenner, Fehner, Venner and others, this is a surname recorded in the British Isles, the Netherlands, and Germany, from whence the word probably derived. In its early forms it is usually job descriptive for a huntsman from the Old French word 'veneor', but it is probable that later examples of the surname derive from a 'fen' engineer, one who was brought over from the Low Countries to assist in the draining of the English (and Irish) wetlands. This 'draining' process went on for many centuries, possibly from as early as the 9th to the 18th century, and during all that time Fenners or Venners passed between the different countries. The intrusive 'h' in 'Fehner' does not seem to be found in England before 1805 when George, the son of Richard and Elizabeth Fehner, was christened at High Halston, Kent, on September 11th of that year. Early examples include Geoffrey le Venour of Salop in 1273 and Robert Veneur of Lincoln in 1293. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Le Venneur, which was dated 1195, in the pipe rolls of the county of Cambridge, 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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