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Dunning is a fairly common English surname which probably stems from the Old English dunn, meaning dull brown, as in the colour of a horse. The name was recorded in Gloucestershire in 1066, Somerset in 1271, and Worcestershire in the year 1275.
Scottish Dunnings might be decendents of Anechal Thane of Dunning, who witnessed the Earl Gilbert of Strathernis charter of Maderin in the year 1199. However, it seems all the Dunnings left the village soon after this.
From our Newsletter 31
WHAT'S IN A NAME: DUNN AND DUNNING
The following is a clipping passed along by Rita Campbell of Newton of Pitcairns. It comes from an old magazine, a Family Circle of April 1970
DUNN: This surname originated from a description that was given to horses, as well as men. It stemmed from the Old English dunn, meaning dull brown, and this was used as a reference to the colour of a horse. In the case of a man, it was given to one who was dark or swarthy.
The surname is closely associated with that of Dunning, which was Old English for the son of Dunn, or the son of one who was dark or swarthy. The name Dunning was first recorded in 1066 and again in the Domesday Book for Gloucestershire.
William Dun (1180) also came from Gloucestershire, while John Le Dunn of Hertfordshire (1198) was the first man to be recorded with the modern version of the surname. The first branch of the family resident in the West Country was John Dun of Somerset, in 1271, while Adam Le Dun resided in Worcestershire in the year 1275.
A few families inherited the name through living at, or near, Dunning, Lower Strathern (sic), Perthshire.
Many miles away, Gillemichel De Dunin was at one time owner of Dunn's Torr, later changed to Dunster. This village, near Minehead in Somerset was owned by the family from 1066 to 1138, and then again in 1208.
The National Trust brochure says the Norman Mohun family built Dunster's first castle shortly after the conquest. They died out after 300 years and it was bought by the Luttrell family who owned it until 1976 when the National Trust took it over. This contradicts the above.
Extract from 'The Surnames of Scotland' by Dr J. G. Black.
Dunning from Dunning in Lower Strathearn, Perthshire.
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