This long-established surname is of Old French origin, and is an occupational name for an attendant or servant deriving from the Old French "servant, serviant", servant (Latin "serviens", from "servire", to serve). Introduced into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066, the surname probably originated for the most part in this general sense, but gradually became specialized to denote a tenant by military service below the rank of a knight, and any of certain administrative and legal officials. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. One Seman Serviens was recorded in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, and a William Seruantman appears in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. In the modern idiom the name is variously spelt: Servant, Servante, Servent and Sarvent. On July 1st 1566, Marmaduke Servante and Joane Penythorne, were married at St. James', Clerkenwell, London, and on June 26th 1581, Susan Servante married a John Grene at St. Margaret's, Westminster, also in London. Recordings of the surname from French Church Registers include: the christening of Renee Servant, an infant, at Amboise, Indre-et-Loire, in February 1541, and the christening of Andrive, daughter of Bernade Servante, at Belpech, Aude, France, on May 22nd 1716. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam le Serviant, which was dated 1242, in the "Pipe Rolls of Somerset", 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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