Recorded in the spellings of Constance and Custance, this surname is of 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 1066 Norman Conquest, 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 1086 Domesday Book. This recording was not strictly a surname, and it was certainly not hereditary, although Robert Custance, in the 1207 pipe rolls of Cambridge, 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 11, known as 'The church builder', 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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