This unusual English residential surname is a developed dialectal form of the village name Exton, of which examples are recorded in Devonshire, Hampshire and Rutland. However, the origin is complicated by the fact that the "root" translation of each village name is different, as was the original spelling, and the first acceptable example of "Extance" as a surname was (see below) in London! In brief, the Devonshire village name translates as "the farm (tun) on the water (isca)", and as "Eaxan" or "Exan" is recorded in the Saxon Rolls of 739 A.D., and also in the Life of King Alfred the Great (804 A.D.), whilst the Hampshire Exton appears as "Exentune" in the 1086 Domesday Book. This translates as "the villages of the East Saxons", whilst the Rutland version is also from the Domesday Book, and means "the oxe farm". The name recordings and the "link" spellings include: Mary Eaxston, of Kenn, Devonshire, in 1558; John Extene, of North Curry, Somerset, in 1574; Stephen Extence, who married Mary Hewitt at Frome, Somerset, on May 21st 1780; and John Extance, of Shaftesbury, Dorest, whose daughter, Eliza Ann, was christened on March 13th 1838, at the same town. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Extent, which was dated November 11th 1588, marriage to Alice Rowe, at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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