This interesting surname of Anglo-Saxon origin is derived from the Middle English given name Stanhard (Old English pre 7th Century Stanheard), composed of the elements "stan" meaning stone plus "heard" hardy, brave or strong. The surname dates back to the late 11th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Ralph Stanhard (1221 Ely, Cambridgeshire), and Laurence Stannard (1327) The Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire. Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Stonard, Stonhard, Stonner, Stanett, Stennard etc..The surname is found most frequently in the East Anglian counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. One Jeffery Stenarde married Margaret Howes on October 16th 1571 at Wattisfield, in Suffolk, and the marriage of Ellis Stennard, in Suffolk, and the marriage of Ellis Stennard and Mary Ansell was recorded at St. James's, Bury, St. Edmunds, on December 7th 1744. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Stanhard, which was dated 1221, Ancient Records of Ely, Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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