This interesting surname has two origins; firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a topographical name for someone who lived by a road or path, deriving from the Middle English "went", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "wendan" meaning to turn. Secondly, it may be a medieval nickname for someone supposedly resembling a mole, the burrowing mammal, for example in having poor eyesight, deriving from the Middle English "want" meaning mole. The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include: Benedict le Want (1327), and James atte Wante (1332), both in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. London Church Records list the christenings of William, son of Edward Want, on September 24th 1596 at St. Martin Ludgate, and William, son of William Want, on August 21st 1597 at St. Ann Blackfriars. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is red, a silver griffin segreant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edwin Wante, which was dated 1207, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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