Recorded in many spellings including Constance (English and French), Constant and Custance (English), Costanti, Costanzi, Costanza, (Italian), Cuzzen, Cusson, and Custerson (English diminutives and patronymics), this is a surname of ultimately Roman origins. It derives from the ancient pre-Christian word 'constantia', meaning constant, which became the female baptismal name 'Constance', although in its original form in England it was spelt 'Custance'. It is also found as the male given name 'Constantine', and the surname can also derive from this source. The name is rarely if ever recorded in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066, which suggests that either it was a Norman introduction, or more likely was associated with the returning Crusaders after their abortive efforts to free the Holy Land from the infidel. Crusader names were often given to the sons of the warriors in commemoration of the fathers deeds of heroism, as well as being associated with saints, popes, and other worthies. Early examples of the surname recordings include Hugo filius Constanti, (Hugo, the son of Constans), in the Domesday Book of 1086, although this recording was not strictly a surname, and it was certainly not hereditary, but Robert Robert Constant in pipe rolls of Lincoln for 1196, and Robert Custance in the pipe rolls of Cambridge in 1207, may well have been both, as was John Constance, also of Cambridge in the year 1279. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Constanc, which was dated 1173, in the register of the abbey of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England', 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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