Recorded in many spellings including Fant, Faunt, Vant (English), Enfant and Lenfant (French), Infante (Spanish and Italian), Fante, Fanti, and diminutives Fantino, Fantinelli, Fantocci, Infantino (Italian), and patronymics Del Fante, De Fant (Italian) and Fantes (English), this is an ancient European surname. It derives from the Roman (Latin) word 'infans' and was used as a baptismal name of endearment for a much loved child. It was also in medieval times a status title born by the eldest sons and sometimes dughters of royalty and nobility before they inherited their full title. It is said to be particularly associated with the ancient kingdom of Castille. In England the area of London known as the Elephant and Castle was originally the 'Infanta de Castille.' The name may also have been in medieval times a nickname either for an actor who played the part of an 'infante' in the famous travelling theatres of the medieval period, or possibly for a person who was considered by his or her peer group to have an elevated attitude above their station in life! The first recording as a surname anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Thomas Lenfaunt in the pipe rolls of the county of Staffordshire in England in the year 1230, whilst six centuries later we have that of Rosa Infantino who married Giovanni Fragpane at Santa Elisabeta, Agrigento, Italy, on July 10th 1832.
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