Derived from the orginal Roman (Latin) "sanctus" meaning blameworthy, this surname is best described as being of early European origins. It is recorded in every Christian country and in over eighty individual and compound spellings such as Saint (English), Sant and Saunt (French), Santa, Santos and Sains (Spanish), Sainteau and Saintin (French), Santucci and Santello (Italian), and Santesson (Swedish), the name was originally a nickname for a pious person or perhaps given the robust humour of the period - the complete reverse! It was also sometimes locational as in the Spanish and Portugese surnames of Di Santos, Do Santos, Dossantos, and Santacrole which describe a person who came from a place called Santos or similar.The surname in any spelling is first recorded in England in the 13th century (see below), and early recordings include Hugh Sant in the pipe rolls of the Abbey of Ramsey, in Cambridgeshire, in 1270, whilst Elizabeth Sainte married William Arrowesmith on July 21st 1572 at St. Gregory's by St. Paul's, in the city of London, and Ann, daughter of John Saint, was christened at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, on November 27th 1608. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is believed to be that of Roger le Sent. This was dated 1250, in the Chartulary of Rievaux Abbey, North Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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