This very rare and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation or a variety of features, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. The derivation of this name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wann", wan, pale, and the nickname would have been given to a pale person. Wan being an unnaturally pale complexion, usually caused by sickness or grief. The final "s" indicates the patronymic form of the name; hence, "son of the pale one". Robert Wan is noted in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the marriage of My Wones and Sim Cherry on March 31st 1777, at Muker, Yorkshire; the marriage of Janes Wones and George Wragg on July 12th 1784, at Darley Dale, Derbyshire; and the christening of Ann, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Wones, on February 23rd 1785, at Westbury, Shropshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Warner Wan, which was dated 1297, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire", 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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