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The origin of the name Le Quiniat is perhaps lost in antiquity, possibly coming in some form from Cornwall with the original immigrants in the fourth century AD following the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Great Britain. However, it is clear that it is so dominant in the village of Plouha compared with other surrounding villages and even perhaps elsewhere in Brittany, that one would almost have to assume that Plouha is its place of origin. With church records only commencing in about 1580, the name had already been 'Francified' from the Breton 'Ar kignat' to the French 'Le Quiniat' and the name remained continuously in the village of Plouha in two or three separate family lines until the present day.

The French-Breton Dictionary gives the meaning of the name as 'écorcher', in English, 'to skin', 'to cut the throat of', 'to kill' thus giving rise to the old Breton sayings 'kignat e vamm-gozh', ('écorcher sa grand-mère' in French), 'to skin your grandmother' in English. Why this should be a popular saying is a little difficult to see, but perhaps you had to know the grandmother! And similarly, 'kignat konikl', 'to skin the rabbit' - we can certainly associate with those sentiments.

So, clearly, the name comes across much better in French than in English, as the name 'Skinner' doesn't hold much charm at all in English. Be that as it may, clearly in eons past some old man with a knife in his hand arrived in Plouha one day and was immediately dubbed 'ar kignat' and the name obviously struck, as here we are many centuries later with a French version of the Breton 'skinner'.

And if all that wasn't enough, the name took to the sea and travelled halfway around the world where the Australians got hold of it and it became Quinert - and they duly went forth and multiplied...

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