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Besante Coat of Arms / Besante Family Crest

This surname BESANTE was derived from the old English word 'bezant' the name of a gold coin 'a bisaunt' worth about 2 shillings. The name was occupational a name meaning a worker in a mint. Ocupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even religious dwellings, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation of profession of the original bearer of the name. Early records of the name mention Lefwin Besant who was documented in London in the year 1147. Robert Besant was the sheriff of London in the year of 1194. Edward Bessent of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Bessant married Britania Freeman at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1748. Rober Besant and Sarah Myers were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1776. An eminent member of the name was Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901) the English novelist and social reformer. He was born in Portsmouth, and studied at King's College, London and at Christ's College, Cambridge. After a few years as a professor in Mauritius, he devoted himself to literature. His first work 'Studies in French Poetry' appeared in 1868. He wrote many novels describing the conditions and the slums of London, advocating social reform, resulting in the establishment of the People's Palace (1887).

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last updated on: September 13 2018

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