Recorded in many forms including Arsum, Arsen, Arsent, Harsant, Harsent, Hersent, Harsum, Harson and Harsunt, this very unusual surname is of Norman French origins. Introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066 in the form of the personal name "Hersent", it was originally of pre 7th century German origins, from the personal name "Heirsint". This was composed of the elements "hari", meaning an army", and "sint", the truth. In England the personal name is first recorded in the Red Book of the Exchequer for Norfolk in 1166, as "Hersent". The surname development since then has taken many forms and these have included: William Herseynt of Cornwall in 1297; John Hersent of Suffolk in 1327 and William Arsent of Cambridge in the Subsidy Rolls of 1332. Later recordings taken from surviving early church registers include the christening of Samuell, son of Samuel Harsunt, on April 14th 1636, at Chigwell, Kent, the marriage of Christopher Harsant and Susanna Bonas at St. Katherine by the Tower, London, on December 13th 1751, and the marriage of Charlotte Harsum and George Coote at the famous church of St Clement Danes, in the city of London, on Christmas day, 1852. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Harsent, which was dated 1276, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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