This is a most interesting surname of Olde English pre 7th century origins. It derives from a locality, probably either Kingsettle in Somerset, which translates as 'the seat of the King, and is believed to relate to Alfred the Great, or possibly Kingside in Cumberland, or some now 'lost' place, with a similar spelling. There are an amazing array of spelling forms, itself an indication that the original site no longer exists, and therefore there is nothing with which to 'key' the surname. This is not wholly unusual in England, at least five thousand villages which gave rise to surnames, no longer exist, many disappearing in the 18th century.At this time it was the custom of the local landowners to 'empark' their lands, a system which artificially beautified many parts of England. Unfortunately it also lead to many tenants losing their homes, and taking to the cities where they adopted or were given as their surname the name of their former village. Spelling being at best primitive, a wide variety of 'sounds like' names were created. In this case the spelling forms include Kenset, Kensett, Kensit, Kingzett, Kingzeth, Kinzet, and many others. Examples of the surname recordings taken from church records include John Kinzett of Barleston, Warwickshire on October 8th 1739, John Kenset, who married Elizabeth Hart at St Benets, Pauls Wharf, London, on March 30th 1741, and Mary Kensett who married Jarret Beal at St Marys, Warwick on May 13th 1799. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Kensied, which was dated January 10th 1612, a witness at St Andrews, Holborn, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England, and V1 of Scotland 1603 - 1625. 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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