This most interesting surname is of Old French origin, and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be a medieval descriptive nickname for someone with grey hair, or more likely, a metonymic occupational name for a worker in iron, a blacksmith or whitesmith, from the Old French word "ferrant", iron-grey. Secondly, according to some authorities, the name may also derive from the medieval given name "Ferrant", the Old French form of "Ferdinand", which is a Spanish (Visigothic) personal name composed of the elements "fareth", journey, expedition, plus "naneth", daring, brave. Ferrandus clericus was recorded in 1190 in the Pipe Rolls of Essex, and Herebertus filius Feran was mentioned in 1198 in the Feet of Fines of Hertfordshire. Early recordings of the surname include Peter Ferrant, in 1202, in the Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire, and John Farrant, who was noted in 1573, in the Registers of the Parish Church of Rothwell (Yorkshire). A Coat of Arms depicting on a red chief two crosses patonce vair on a silver shield, was granted to a Farrant family at Mitcham in Surrey and Harden in Yorkshire in 1586. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Ferrant, which was dated 1188, in the "Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 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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