This interesting surname has two origins; firstly, it may be of Old French origin, deriving from the Old French "argent" meaning silver, and may have been used either as a nickname for someone with silvery grey hair, as an occupational name for a worker in the metal, or as a topographical name for someone who lived near a silver mine. There are several French towns and villages called Argent, because silver was mined there, and the surname may also derive from any of these. Secondly, it may be a locational name from either of the places, in Aude and Bassey-Alpes, called Argens, deriving from the Late Latin personal name "Argenteus" or "Argentius" meaning "silvery". The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include John Largeant (1524), in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. Variations in the spelling of the surname include: Argente, Arghent, Argentt, Argont, and Argontt. London Church Records list the christening of William, son of Thomas Argent, on April 18th 1619 at St. Andrew's, Enfield, and of John, son of Peter and Anne Argent, on December 12th 1624 at St. Bartholomew the Great. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Argent, which was dated 1180, in the "Pipe Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.
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