Recorded in an extraordinary number of spellings including Cherm, Chirm, Churm, Chearne, Chern, Cherns, Churn, Chirn, and Churne, this is an English surname. It is locational from a smalll village called Churn near Didcot in Oxfordshire, or from residence by the River Churn in Wiltshire. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names, the origination is from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'ciern' , which seems to have itself derived from an even earlier British tribal name 'Cornovii'. Their territory it is claimed, was the modern town of Cirencester. If this is the case Cirencester means 'the (Roman) camp at the place of the Cornovii'. Churn is first recorded as Cyrenia in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 810 a.d. This is some two hundred and fifty years before the famous Domesday Book in 1086, generally regarded as the benchmark date of English history. The surname is rare given its long period of development, and surprisingly does not appear in any of the popular dictionaries of surnames. Early examples of recordings showing the indifferent attitude to spelling over the centuries include: Adam Chearne at St Botolphs Bishopgate in the city of London on April 1st 1592, when he married Rose Dallymore, and Margaret Cherm, the daughter of the interestingly spelt Alam Cherm, at the same church, on March 17th 1594.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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