This interesting surname, of English origin, is a nickname for someone bearing a fancied resemblance to the bird, deriving from the Middle English "fesaunt" meaning "pheasant". The surname dates back to the mid 12th Century (see below). Further recordings include one Thomas Fesaunt (1221), the Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire, Richard le Feisant, le Faisant (1229), the Close Rolls of Jersey, and Roger Fesant (1241), the Cartulary of Osney Abbey, Oxfordshire. London Church Recordings include one Margaret Fesant who married Steven Staine on January 22nd 1559 at St. Mildred Poultry with St. Mary Colechurch. Joane Phesant married William Stafford on March 6th 1608 at St. Gregory by St. Paul, and Ann Phesant who married Edward Stratton on October 15th 1639 at the Temple Church of England. William Pheasant married Frances Buckingham at Tottenham on December 20th 1666. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Faisant, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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