This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old French origin, and is a nickname for a particularly pious individual, from the Old French "sant", Anglo-French "seint", Middle English "seint, saint", a saint (ultimately from the Latin "sanctus", blameless, holy). The word was occasionally used in the Middle Ages as a given name, especially on the Continent, and this may have given rise to some instances of the surname. This surname is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance. In the modern idiom the surname has several spelling variations including Sante, Sant, and Sent. The surname first appears in records in Yorkshire in the mid 13th Century (see below). Hugh Sant was recorded in 1270, in the Court Rolls of the Abbey of Ramsey and the Honor of Clare (Cambridgeshire). William Sant married Elizabeth Hollowell on June 21st 1615, in 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 "Records of the Abbey of Rievaulx" (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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