This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old French and early medieval English origin, and is derived from a nickname for a notably pious individual, from the Middle English, Old French "saint, seint", from the Latin "sanctus", blameless, holy. The vocabulary word was occasionally used in the Middle Ages as a given name, especially on the Continent, where it has given rise to the following instances: Sant (France), Sa(i)ns (France), Sant(i) (Italy), Santo (Italy), and Santos (Spain). The name was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, where it is also found as Saint, Sant and Sants. The surname itself first appears in the mid 13th Century (see below), while other early examples include John le Seynt, mentioned in the Close Rolls of King Henry 111 in 1255, and Hugh Sant, recorded in 1270 in the Court Rolls of the Abbey of Ramsey and of the Honor of Clare (Cambridgeshire). William, son of Thomas Saunt, was christened on August 24th 1620, at St. Katherine by the Tower, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger le Sent, which was dated circa 1250, in the "Cartulary of Rievaulx Abbey", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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