This unusual surname recorded as Lent, Lente, Lentt, and possibly Lant and Lante, is said to be English. It would seem to be an early medieval Christian nickname for a person born in the religious period of Lent, that is the forty weekdays between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and follows a trend for such names such as Easter, Christmas, Nowell and even Trinity. However Lent is also a period associated with gloom and poverty, so it is possible that the surname has other connatations. It is also perhaps surprisingly a name ignored by most directories of surnames. The honourable exception would seem to be that of the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley. Writing in 1880 he confirms the origin, and records William Lent in the Hundred Rolls of Oxford in 1273, and Willelmus Lenten in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379. Recordings in the city of London taken from early surviving registers include include Temperance Lante, the daughter of Richard Lante, christened at the church of St Peter-le-Poer, on April 1st 1658, and Hengoe Lentt a chistening witness to his son also called Hengoe, at St Thomas the Apostle, on March 20th 1675.
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