This distinguished name is of Norman French origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. It is a locational surname from Vernon, in the Eure region of Normandy; the placename is derived from the Gaulish element "ver(n)", alder (tree), with the Gallo-Roman locational suffix "-o", in the genitive case "onis"; hence, "place of the alders". The first recorded bearer of the name, Richard de Vernon (as below), came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066, and settled at Shipbrook in Cheshire; his descendant, William de Vernon, acquired Haddon Hall in Derbyshire by marriage with the heiress of the Avenels, during the reign of Henry 111 (1216 - 1272). Among the many notable bearers of the name were Sir George Vernon (1578? - 1639), an influential judge; James Vernon (1646 - 1727), secretary to the Duke of Monmouth from 1674 - 1678, and principal secretary of state from 1698 - 1702; his son, Edward (1684 - 1757), who was created admiral in 1745, and is credited with being the first to issue "grog" (rum diluted with water); and Richard Vernon (1726 - 1800), known as "father of the turf", who was a founder of the Jockey Club and began training horses at Newmarket in the mid 18th Century. One of the early Coats of Arms granted to the family depicts a silver lion passant on a black shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Vernon, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Cheshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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