Jenner Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Jenner Meaning
The root of Jenner was the French engigneor
or engineer.  At the time of
the Norman Conquest the name described the men who dug the military
siege trenches and worked the catapults and siege machines.
Most Jenners were to be found in southeast England in East Sussex and
across the border into Kent.  The story goes that there were
“engineers” who had come over with William the Conqueror but had become
disgruntled for their lack of reward.  So they refused to
integrate into the newly conquered country and stayed in the East
Sussex area where they had landed.

Resources on

Jenner Ancestry

England.  Jenner has been
a relatively common name in Sussex and Kent and was also to be found in
the west country, in Gloucestershire..

Sussex  The name
in Sussex was to be found
in coastal towns such as Hastings and Brighton and in wealden villages
such as Withyham, Worth, Ticehurst, and Wadhurst.  Thomas Jenner
from Mayfield was a judge who rose to become Baron of the Exchequer and
a Justice of the Common Pleas in the 1680’s.  Two Jenner brothers
from Rotherfield founded the Jenner brewery in London.

Kent  A Jenner
family originally from Brede in East Sussex were cutlers in Cranbrook
Kent in the 1600’s.  Other Jenners were stone cutters in the
quarries near
Tunbridge Wells.  And Jenners were country gentry
in Chislehurst
, Kent from the 1750’s and possibly earlier.  The
Kent town of Chatham on the Medway could boast to be the birthplace in
1810 of Charles Jenner, the founder of Jenners of Edinburgh,
and in 1815 of Sir William Jenner, Queen Victoria’s doctor.  Less famous was George Jenner, born there in
1814, who became a shoemaker.

The most renowned Jenner was not from Sussex or Kent.  Edward
Jenner was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire in
1749, the son of the local vicar, and he spent most of his career as a
doctor in his native town.  In 1796 he carried out his now famous
experiment on eight-year-old James Phipps.  He was testing the
theory, drawn from the folklore of the countryside, that milkmaids who
suffered the mild disease of cowpox never contracted smallpox, one of
the greatest killers of the period.  Jenner subsequently proved
that Phipps, after having been inoculated with cowpox, would be immune
to smallpox.

There had been an earlier outbreak of smallpox in the Dorset village of
Yetminster where, curiously, a cluster of Jenners (originally Ginners)
was to be found.  This village was proficient in the leather and
glove trade and Henry Jenner and his son Harry brought that skill with
them when they emigrated to America in 1864.

Jenner in America was probably Richard Jenner who was brought to New
sometime in the 1640’s by Hannah, his widowed mother.

Jenner, a gentleman of considerable
property and an officer in the British army, who, dying in a foreign
left a widow and three sons in London.” 

report has him dying during the passage to America.

This family, traced in Carl Mitton’s 1990
booklet The Jenner Family, lived in
Woodbury, Connecticut for a considerable period of time.  A Jenner
Bible handed
down marked succeeding generations.  One
line led to Chautauqua county in western New York.
Another line led to Kentucky and Indiana and Bill Jenner, the Indiana
Senator and
anti-communist crusader of the 1950’s.

Jenners in America today number less than a thousand.  They may be
either of English or German origin. Henry Jenner came from Sussex
in the 1840’s and settled in upstate New York.  Another Jenner
family traces its roots back to Wuerttenberg in
Germany.  Jenner here may have come from the South German Janner
after Januarius (the first month of the year).

AustraliaIsaac Jenner
from Sussex settled in Brisbane, Queensland in the 1880’s.
He was a landscape painter.  Although his contribution to art in
Brisbane was considerable, his claim to be the founder of art in the
colony was somewhat exaggerated.


Select Jenner Miscellany

Jenner Brewers from Sussex.  Robert and Henry Jenner from Rotherfield in Sussex founded Jenner’s brewery in
London in 1787.  Based in Southwark, this
family-owned brewery came to be known in Victorian times as the theater

The Victorian proprietors were Robert Jenner, followed by his son
Albert Jenner, and then by his son Harold Jenner in the early
1900’s.  The brewery premises on Southwark Bridge Road had gotten
rather dated by that time.  Harold devoted himself to his
music.  He was the organist at St. John’s Presbyterian church in
Kensington for 21 years and conductor of the Kensington Choral Society
for 18 years.

In 1938 Anthony Jenner sold the
business to Woodhead’s and after the war
joined Harveys, the Sussex brewers in Lewes, as their head brewer.
His son Miles now carries on the family
tradition as Harveys’ head brewer.

The Jenners of Chislehurst and St. Columb Major.  A tomb within the iron railings of St. Nicholas church,
Chislehurst contains the following inscription:

to the memory of Robert Jenner esq. who departed this life on December
2, 1810, aged 67 years.  Also to the
memory of Ann, his widow, who departed this life on August 24, 1827,
aged 78

also to the memory of the
Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Jenner Fust, second son of Robert Jenner esq,
aforesaid Dean
of the Arches and Judge of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.  He died on February 20, 1852, aged 74 years.  Also to the memory of Elizabeth, wife of Sir
Herbert Jenner, who died on July 29, 1828, aged 44 years.”

apart, Sir Herbert was said to
have lived for cricket.  He was also
reputed to have been the second best real tennis player in England in
his time.  However, in his later years he
became so
infirm that he had to be carried in and out of court by two footmen.

Herbert’s son Henry was one of the two curates
to the rector of St. Columb Major in Cornwall.
His son Henry, born there in 1848, became a great authority on
languages, was a senior bard of the Cornish Gorsedd, and did much to
promote the
revival of Cornish as a living language.  Another branch of the
Chislehurst Jenners made their home at Wenvoe castle in Glamorgan.

Isaac Jenner, Marine Painter.  Isaac Jenner,
the son of a Brighton blacksmith, joined the Royal Navy in 1855 at 18,
sailed the seas for a decade.  He then
returned to Brighton, learned to paint, and found work as a landscape
marine painter.  His most popular
subjects were the Sussex and Cornish coasts and large historical
seascapes.  In 1883, after having
experienced difficulties with picture dealers, he decided to emigrate
and set
off with his large family for Brisbane in Queensland.

he made a living by selling paintings,
holding art unions and by teaching.
However, he soon found Brisbane lacking in sufficient taste and
pursuits for him, while he felt his own talents went unrecognized.  So he removed himself to the outer suburb of
where he lived and worked for the last twelve years of his life.

Bill Jenner of Crawford County, Indiana.  Bill Jenner
was born in 1908 to Woody and Jane Jenner in a two-room smokehouse in
the small
town of Marengo in the hills of south Indiana.
As a youngster he would sit around the potbellied stove in the
general store and listen to his father, the Republican chairman of
county, spin tales of the Republican heroes of yesteryear.

Bill started his political life in Indiana
during the Depression years.  He became a
US Senator in 1946 and earned a reputation as an anti-communist
second only to Joseph McCarthy.

Jenners in Marengo date back to the 1840’s when Stephen Jenner arrived
there with
his family from Kentucky.  His brother
Ezra joined him later.  Their father
Samuel was a native of Vermont who had fought in the War of 1812.  The line before that went back to Woodbury,

Bruce Jenner and the Kardashians.  Bruce Jenner
came from an East Coast athletics background on both his father’s and
grandfather’s side.   As
he told a sports magazine interviewer:   “By
the time I turned two, I’d already
developed a big chest, wide shoulders, and boundless energy.”  He won a gold medal in the decathlon in the
1976 Montreal Olympics.

he is better
known now as a California TV celebrity.
In 1991 he married Kris Kardashian, the divorced wife of lawyer
Kardashian.  Since the 2007 debut of the
TV reality show Keeping Up with the
, he has appeared as the step-father to the four
siblings – Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob.  In 2015 he announced
that he had become a woman.



Select Jenner

  • Edward Jenner was the celebrated English scientist credited in the early 19th century with devising a vaccine for smallpox. 
  • Charles Jenner who had moved
    from the south to Edinburgh started a drapery store on Princes Street
    in the 1830’s.  Now known as Jenners, it is probably the best
    known of Edinburgh’s shops. 
  • Sir William Jenner was the
    physician who discovered the difference between typhus and typhoid.  He was also Queen Victoria’s doctor. 
  • Henry Jenner was a Celtic
    scholar who published the Cornish language handbook in 1904 which
    helped in its revival as a language. 
  • Bruce Jenner was the American track athlete who won the 1976 Olympic decathlon Gold Medal.  He has since made his name in American reality TV and become a woman known as Caitlyn Jenner.

Select Jenner Numbers Today

  • 6,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Kent)
  • 800 in America (most numerous
    in California).
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia) 


Select Jenner and Like Surnames

Some surnames have come from SE England, in particular the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.  These are some of the noteworthy surnames that you can check out.




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