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Researching the names: Staniar Stanier Stanway Stanyer Stonehewer Stonhewer Stonier Stonyer etc


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The aim of the Stonehewer to Stanier Society is to maintain an association of people interested in the origins, history and development of the family name. It is believed that most branches of the family descend from Stonhewer families living on the border between Cheshire and Staffordshire in the 15th century.

The surname comes from the Middle English stanyer, meaning a stonecutter, one who cut and dressed stone (from stan, stone [Old English stān] + a reduced form of hewer, agent derivative of hew(en), to cut, chop [Old English hēawan], assimilated to the agent suffix -(i)er).

The earliest variants of the name of which we are aware are William Stanhewaa of Oxfordshire, mentioned in the Doomsday survey of 1085-6; Thomas Stonhewa or Stonewaa, who is in the Hundred rolls for Oxfordshire in 1275-9; and Walter Stanhewer from 13th century Kirkstall, Yorkshire. These dates are early in the history of hereditary surnames, which did appear in England shortly after the Norman Conquest, but as Norman references to the estates in Northern France from which they came, rather than native English. It is thus possible that these names merely show the occupation of the man rather than his family.

A Thomas Stonehewer is recorded as renting Milsonburg quarry in Congleton CHS in 1372-3, and a Roger Stonehewer the same quarry in 1423. If these men are related, this could be the time at which the occupational name became the surname.

   

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