- This interesting name derives form the Medieval English 'dancen', to dance (ultimately from the Olde French 'danser') and was originally given as an occupational name to a professional dance employed to perform at weddings, festivals, fairs and other such public functions. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 12th Century, (see below). One, Ralph le Dancere, appearing in the Cartulary of Ramsey Abbey, Norfolk, was most likely engaged to perform in a Medieval Miracle Play. In 1327, William le Dauncer was recorded in the 'Subsidy Rolls of Somerset', and a Johannes Dauncer in the 'Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire', dated 1379. John Dancer, who flourished circa 1675, translated, among other-works, Cornelle's 'Nocomede'. Thomas Dancer (1755 - 1811) was a botanist and physician to the Bath waters, 1784.A Coat of Arms granted to the Dancer family has the blazon of a gold shield thereon six cinquefoils gules. The crest being a pheon (an arrow head) with the motto: Vincit qui patitur translating as He conquers who endures. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwin Dancere, which was dated 1130, 'The Pipe Rolls of Hertfordshire', during the reign of King Henry 1, known as the Lion of Justice, 1100 - 1135. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.