Recorded in the 'modern' spellings of Kennet, Kennett, Kinnett, Kynett, and possibly others, this is an English medieval surname. It appears to be locational from either residence by the River Kennet in the county of Suffolk or from the village of Kennett in Cambridgeshire, or from similarly named villages in Wiltshire. The meaning is obscure, but is believed to be from Olde English 'canto' meaning a boundary. The earliest example of the surname from either of these sources would seem to be that of Peter de Kenet of Norfolk, in the tax rolls known as the 'Feet of Fines' in the year 1237, with another Peter de Kenet appearing in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of the county of Wiltshire in the year 1273.However according to the famous Victorian etymologist, Canon Charles Bardsley, it is possible that the name was in some cases at least, a nickname. If so it is from the Middle English word 'kenet' meaning a small hound dog. An early reference to this animal appears in the medieval dictionary known as Promptus Parva as 'Kenet, a hownde, caniculus'. Examples of later church recordings include William Kennett who married Barbara Eglesfield in the city of London in 1586, Richard Clark and Susanna Kennett who were married at Colchester in Essex ten years later in 1596, and Elizabeth Kinnett christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on September 21st 1691.
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