This surname was an official name 'the sergeant or serjant, an officer of the law, a policeman'. It also meant 'an officer who was able to charge with enforcing of the law, the judgements of a tribunal, or summoning persons to appear before a court' or 'a tenant by military service under the rank of a knight'. Occupational 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 name was derived from the Old French SERGENT, familiar to all medieval registers, and was brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. Early records of the name mention Edric le Serjant of the County of Yorkshire in 1185. Thomas le Sergeant was documented in 1266, and John Sargeant appears in County Sussex in the year 1366. Thomas Elys Serjaunt of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name include Ernest Sergant and Elizabeth Morris who were married in London in 1654. The name was taken early to Scotland by settlers, and Richard Sergant appears in Newbottle as a charter witness in 1200. A writ was issued to Nicholas le Sirjaunt on behalf of the sheriff of Edinburgh in the same year, and John Sergaunt was a witness to an enquiry regarding the churches in 1309.
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