This famous surname is international being recorded in some form in every European country. There are at least three potential origins. These are firstly a derivative of the Greek personal name Alexander, meaning "The defender", and which was first recorded in 2000 b.c. It was introduced into Britain by "Crusaders" and other pilgrims, from the Holy Land, in the 12th century a.d.. Secondly in Britain, it can be locational from the village of Sanderstead in the county of Surrey. This place was first recorded as "Sonderstede" in the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 871, meaning the house on the sandy land.The third option is from the pre 7th century word "sand", plus the Germanic suffix "er", and as such describing a person who worked with or supplied sand, used for building or agricultural. The various spellings of the surname include Sander, Saunder, and Sandar, whilst Saunders, Sanders, and Sandars are the patronymics. Early examples of the surname recording include William Sandre of the county of Kent, England, in 1316, and Richard Saunder of Stafford in the Subsidy Rolls of that county for the year 1332. Other examples include Sir Edward Saunders, Chief-baron of the exchequer to Queen Elizabeth 1st in 1559, whilst Francis Sanders, (1648 - 1710), a Jesuit priest, was confessor to the exiled King James 11 of England, at the palace of St. Germain in France. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Henry Sandres, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire". This was during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.
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