This unusual "English" name is one of the variant spellings of the French "Begon", famous for the origination of the species of flowers known today as "the Begonia". The surname in England is also recorded under the varied spellings of Baigent, Bagent, Beagant etc.. The origination in the U.K. is probably through huguenot immigrants but this is not proven, however heraldically the name is found in the Departments of France known as Blaisois and Auvergne. The origin is even more obscure and is believed to derive from a christian brotherhood found in Flanders in the 13th Century known as "the Beguines". As however the Beguin order forbade marriage, the surname is clearly locational for one who lived by a monastery operated by the Order. The name recordings in England include Nicholas Begient, of Putney, on February 4th 1667, Thomas Bugant, of Greyfriars, London on August 24th 1712 and Juliana Beagent who married William Inch at the Church of St. Ann's, Soho, Westminster, on March 4th 1779, in the reign of George 111 (1760-1820). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Begent, which was dated January 2nd 1667, a christening witness at Staines Church, Middlesex, during the reign of King Charles 11, known as "The Merry Monarch", 1660-1685. 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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