This French and Italian medieval given name COSTANZA 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. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. 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 1. 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' who 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.
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