- This interesting surname is of Old French origin, and derives from the Old French personal name "Christian", itself coming from the Latin "Christianus" meaning follower of Christ. This male given name was introduced into England following the Norman Conquest of 1066 especially by Breton settlers. It was also used in the same form as a female name, and in some cases the surname may be metronymic in origin. The personal name appears as "Christiana" (1154), in the Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; as "Cristianus" (1201) in the Curia Regis Rolls of Berkshire, and as "Cristian" (1228) in the Feet of Fines of Essex. The surname dates back to the mid 12th Century, (see below), London Church Records list the christenings of William Christian on the 14th April 1543 at Christ Church, Greyfriars, Newgate, and Abraham, son of John Christian, on the 6th October 1593 at St. Helen's, Bishopsgate. A Coat of Arms granted to a Christian family is gold, a blue cross crosslet. The crest is a lion guardant sejant on its hind legs holding in its dexter paw a cross and resting its sinister on a black pyramid. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Crestien, which was dated 1163-1169, in the "Records of the Abbey and Bishopric of Ely", Cambridge, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.
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