This name, chiefly found in Northern England and in Scotland, derives from the Olde French "Tournant", meaning a street corner or turn in a road. This word was also used to describe a winding twisting movement, and consequently the name may be either topographic for one who lived as a turning, or occupational for one who "turned" or fashioned objects of bone, wood etc., on a lathe. The surname from the latter source is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century, (see below). One, Richard Turnaunt was recorded in Essex in 1486. The variant spellings Tournant, Tarnent and Ternent are particularly well recorded in Northumbrian Church Registers from the early 18th Century. On June 20th 1731 Ann Tarnent and John Cockburn were married in Chatton. Andrew Ternent, an infant, was christened in Belford on January 3rd 1748 and one Adam Tournant was christened in Beadnell on May 29th 1771. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Turneaunt, which was dated 1223, "The Curia Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry III, "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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