Recorded as Wend, Went and Whent, this is an ancient medieval English surname. It was originally topographical for someone who lived by a cross road, or perhaps a very sharp bend in the road. The derivation being from the Olde English pre 7th century word "wendan," meaning to wander. The earliest surnames were often taken from natural features in the countryside, particularly as the communities of the period were generally very small. This surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th century as shown below, whilst another early recording is that of William atte Wend, who was the rector of Scoulton, Norfolk, in the year 1368. Examples of later recordings include Moses Went, given as being buried in 1664 at St James Clerkenwell. It is thought that he was a friend or servant perhaps of the Lord Bishop of London. The famous Victorian researcher Canon Charles Bardsley claimed that Whent was a later 18th century variant spelling. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Henry de la Wente. This was dated 1273 in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk. during the reign of King Edward Ist of England known to history as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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