This French medieval given name COST meaning 'steadfast and faithfull' was borne by an 8th century Irish martyr. This surname has also absorbed examples of the name Constans, which was borne by a 2nd century martyr, bishop of Perugia. The name was popular in Continental Europe, and to a lesser extent in England, as having been borne by the first Christian ruler of the Roman Empire, Constantine the Great (?280-338) in whose honour Byzantium was renamed Constantinople. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. It was the name of an Anglo-Norman family said to be descended from a certain Radulf, who is recorded as holder of land in Shropshire in the Domesday Book of 1086. Walter de Constantiis (died 1207) was Vice Chancellor of England in 1173, and as archbishop of Rouen he was present at the coronation of Richard I. Bearers of this name are frequently recorded in Norman and English records between 918 and 1206.
Early records of the name recorded in England include Johanna Constantine, who was documented in County Kent in 1273, and Constantinius Walker of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In 1702 there is a record 'John Constantine, whose mother fell in labour in the street' was baptised at St. Michael, Cornhill, London.
The name was taken to Scotland by early settlers and Thomas Constane appears in Edinburgh in the year 1501, and Patrick Constyne was a witness in Perth in 1544. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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