Recorded as Fontaine, Fountain, Fountian, Fontane, Fonteyne, Lafontaine, and others this is an Anglo-French surname. It is residential for someone who lived near a spring or well, from the pre 7th century Late Latin word "fontana", or who came from one of several places in France called Fontane or La Fontaine. The word as fountain was introduced into England by the Normans after the Invasion of 1066, and rapidly became quite popular. Residential surnames were amongst the earliest to be created as natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Locational surnames usually developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. An example of an early chruch register recording is that of Jacob Fountain, the son of Peter and Mary Fountain, christened on December 6th 1648 at St. Gabriel's, Fenchurch Street, in the city of London. A coat of arms granted to the family has the blazon of a red field charged with a gold gold, and in the chief sinister, a silver cinque. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo de Funteines. This was dated 1202, in the Pipe Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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