Passant - Surname Meaning

This unusual surname was brought into Britain during the Norman invasion. Its original spelling was Passeavant (and variations thereof), French for 'to go in front', an occupational surname for a messenger.

Early mentions include:

  • Adam Passavant, of Eyton, Alberbury, 1086, Doomsday Landholder's List
  • Her' Gilberti Passeuant, 1332, Lincolnshire Lay Subsidy
  • Margaret, daughter of Robert Passeuant, 1412, Shropshire Peace Rolls
  • John Passand, of Shrewsbury, mercer, s. of William, of Abbey Forgate, 1454, Shrewsbury Burgess Records

The surname is extant in the UK. By the 17th century many Passavant families had either become extinct or changed to different surnames. The primary line of the family was now settled around Worthen and Shrewsbury in Shropshire, where they practised the trades of apothecary and were yeoman farmers. According to The Publications of the Selden Society, Vol. 16, page 204., all Shropshire Passants were descendants of an man living in the early 16th century by the name of John Passeffant, Cryer of the Abbottes Curtes and Wolde Haue. In the 17th century, the most common rendering of the name was Passand. In the 18th century, the Shropshire Passands, scattered and died out, leaving just one family carrying the name Passon. Some Passants of this family went to Ireland while others went to London and Oxfordshire. By the 19th century the surname was invariably rendered as Passant, who were numerous as shoemakers in South West Shropshire.

The surname is also extant in France and other parts of Europe.

— David Hopkins, written: 2012-2013

Variants of this surname include: Passavant & Passon.

Passant - Surname Distribution

Passant Distribution in the United Kingdom in 1881

Hover over a county for more details.

No. of People

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* Statistics based on the 1881 census of the United Kingdom, Channel Islands & Isle of Man

Highest Incidence of Passants in UK Counties and Dependencies

RankCountyNo. of People% of Region
1Shropshire790.03
2Montgomeryshire350.05
3Lancashire20-
4Surrey16-
5Staffordshire12-
6Derbyshire11-
7Yorkshire4-
8Oxfordshire4-
9Warwickshire4-
10Middlesex2-
11Cheshire2-
12Devon1-
13Caernarfonshire1-
14Essex1-
15Somerset1-

Highest Incidence of Passants in UK Settlements

RankSettlementNo. of People% of Settlement
1Worthen270.84
2Shrewsbury150.05
3Baslow111.32
4Newington100.01
5Manchester8-
6Wolverhampton80.01
7Welshpool70.14
8Westbury70.54
9Wigan70.01
10Buttington71.01
11Churchstoke70.47
12Guilsfield70.29
13Montford61.20
14Southwark50.01
15Llandrinio50.62
16Alberbury40.25
17Solihull40.08
18Chirbury40.27
19Gorton30.01
20Oxford30.01
21Condover30.17
22Ellesmere30.05
23Minsterley20.21
24Bilston20.01
25West Bromwich2-
26Pontesbury20.07
27Ashton upon Mersey20.02
28Oswestry10.01
29Rotherham1-
30Shifnal10.01
31Montgomery10.08
32Camberwell1-
33Llandwrog10.02
34Llanymynech10.10
35Colchester1-
36Wells10.01
37St Marylebone1-
38Ripon10.01
39Liverpool1-
40Castell Caereinion10.17
41Westminster1-
42Eston10.02
43Cardeston10.36
44Whittington10.04
45Nether Hoyland10.01
46Toxteth Park1-
47St Martin's10.04
48Bicester10.03
49Tavistock10.01

Passant Distribution in Ireland in 1901

Hover over a county for more details.

No. of People

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* Statistics based on the 1901 census or Ireland

Highest Incidence of Passants in Irish Counties

RankCountyNo. of People% of Region
1Wicklow1-

Highest Incidence of Passants in Irish Settlements

RankSettlementNo. of People% of Settlement
1Derralossory10.06

Passant Reference & Research

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