This unusual surname is an interesting example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were given with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, or to habits of dress and occupation. In this instance, the derivation is from the Middle English and Old French "patience", via the Latin "patientia", from "pati", to endure, and originally denoted a long-suffering individual, or perhaps someone who had represented this abstract value in a medieval morality play.The surname, with variant forms; Pacient, Patient and Passion, is recorded in English Church Registers from the late 16th Century (see below). On August 15th 1619, Francis Patience, an infant, was christened in Ashe and Dean, Hampshire, and on April 18th 1641, John, son of Esencrets Patience, was christened at St. Olave's, Southwark, London. Thomas Patient or Patience, who went to New England between 1630 and 1635, was an early emigrant missionary to America. Upon his return to England, he was appointed by parliament "to dispense the gospel in the city of Dublin" (1649), and died of the plague in London (1666). In 1816, the Rev. J. Patience was rector of Ardnamurchan parish, Argyllshire, Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anne Pacient, which was dated May 10th 1584, marriage to Edward Nossiter, at St. Stephen and St. Benet Sherehog, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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