This very uncommon and interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and derives from a now 'lost' place in Lincolnshire called 'St. Ann(e)'s'. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets in Britain are known to have disappeared since the 12th Century, due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eight of the population perished, and to the widespread practice of 'clearing' large areas of land to make sheep pasture during the height of the English wool trade, in the 14th and 15th Centuries. The phonetic spelling of the placename 'St. Anne's' produced the modern surnames 'Sentance' and 'Sentence', as the name 'St. Aubyn' in Cornwall has become 'Sentabin' in surname form. The surnames Sentance and Sentence are found recorded almost exclusively in Lincolnshire, with some modern examples in Leicestershire, Yorkshire and London. One Nathanell Sentance was christened at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, London, on January 9th 1669. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Christopher Sentence (marriage to Mary Flowers), which was dated November 19th 1584, Grantham, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, '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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