Recorded in several forms as shown below, this uncommon surname is of Old French origins. It is a patronymic form of the surname Saint, with a fused preposition "de" implying "of the Saint (family)". The derivation is from the Latin "sanctus", meaning blameless or holy, and was used as a nickname for a pious individual, or perhaps the complete reverse! The word was also used as a given name especially on the Continent; and some bearers of the surname may therefore derive their name from this source. The surname is thought to have been introduced into England by French Huguenot refugees during the late 17th and 18th Centuries. The usual French form of the surname is Dessaint, and in Britain it has been adopted in a variety of forms, including Dasent, Decent, Descent, Dessant, Desent and others. Recordings of the surname from surviving early church registers include the christening of Frances Dessant at Christchurch Greyfriars, London, on December 24th 1682; the christening of William Desent at St. Mary Whitechapel, London, on January 19th 1723; and the marriage of Raphael Dessent and Anne Boursier on February 23rd 1699, in Montreal, Canada. An early example of the family name is that of Benony Decent, which was dated May 20th 1678, at Moreton Hampstead, in Devonshire. This was during the reign of King Charles 11nd, known as "The Merry Monarch", 1660 - 1685. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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