This most interesting and unusual surname is of either Anglo-Saxon or Old Scandinavian origin. Firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, as a topographical name for a "dweller by a hill or barrow, mound" from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "wenn", wen, wart, used in the transfered sense of a low hill or mound. The surname may secondly be of Old Scandinavian origin, also as a topographical name, for "residence by or on a fen, low-lying flat land that is marshy or has been artificially drained", from the Olde English "fenn", Old Norse "fen", a fen. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easy identification when distinguishing members of small communities in medieval times. The surname itself first appears in records in the early 14th Century (see below), while other early examples include Johannes atte Wenne, mentioned in "Kirby's Quest for Somerset" in 1316, and Walter atte Wen, listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1327. James Wenn married Sarah Mernis at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London, in 1742. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John atte Wenne, which was dated 1316, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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