This interesting and unusual name has two possible origins, the first and most likely for modern day bearers of the name being from the early medieval English given name "Florence", which was used by both sexes. The name derives ultimately from the Latin names "Florentius" (masculine), and "Florentia" (feminine), which are derivatives of "florens", flourishing, blooming. Both names were borne by several early Christian martyrs, but the masculine name was the more commonly found in the Middle Ages, and is the first recorded in England in the Latinized form of "Florentius", in the Book of Seals for Staffordshire. The fist recording of the surname (below) is from this source. The second possible origin for the modern surname is locational for someone from the city of Florence in Italy, which was originally named in Latin as "Florentia". One Bartholomew de Florence is recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire, dated 1273. Recordings from London Church Registers include the marriage of Robert Florence and Elizabeth Mountfield at St. Botolph's, on 26th June 1603. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Florenz, which was dated 1220, in the "Cartulary of Oseney Abbey", Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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