This interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly, it may be a habitational name from "Agneaux" in La Manche, the etymology of which is uncertain. One Robert de Ayneaus is recorded in the Curia Regis Rolls of Suffolk (1227). It could also have originated from the Old French "agnel", or "agneau" meaning a lamb, and would have been a descriptive nickname for a meek or pious person. One Susanna Agniel is registered in the Curia Regis Rolls of Berkshire (1206). Lastly, it may be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Gneeve". In Petty's 1659 "census" of all-Ireland, Agnew was one of the principal Irish names in the baronies of Glencarn and Belfast...
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