Show ContentsBessant History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Bessant surname lie with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name Bessant began when someone in that family worked as a coiner or minter. The name is derived from a coin called the byzantius, whose name is derived from the city of Byzantium, where they were minted. The word is derived from the "Middle English besant, besand, the Old French besan, pluralized as besanz, which in turn was derived from the Latin byzantius (nummus), meaning a gold coin." [1]

"A bisaunt, bezant, or bizantine was an old coin both in gold and silver, and so called from having been minted at Byzantium. The silver bezant passed current for as. or thereabouts." [2]

Early Origins of the Bessant family

The surname Bessant was first found in London, England where Leftwin besant was recorded 1147-1168. He was listed as a "moneyer" in the Pipe Rolls of 1168. Later, Robert Besant was listed in Clerkenwell, London in 1186-1192 and the Pipe Rolls of 1195. [1]

Early History of the Bessant family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bessant research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1168, 1194, 1748, 1752, 1776, 1800, 1828, 1836, 1870, 1879, 1901 and 1917 are included under the topic Early Bessant History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bessant Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Bessant has appeared include Besant, Besaynt, Bezant, Bessant, Besand, Beasant, Bessent, Beazant, Bayzand, Beszant, Bassant, Bassent and many more.

Early Notables of the Bessant family

Distinguished members of the family include Robert Besant, Sheriff of London in 1194. [2] Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901), was a distinguished English novelist and historian. He was the son of wine merchant William Besant (1800-1879) and was born at Portsmouth, Hampshire...
Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bessant Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Bessant migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bessant Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

Contemporary Notables of the name Bessant (post 1700) +

  • Revd Canon Simon Bessant, English Priest-in-Charge of St. Mark's Church, Grenoside, South Yorkshire
  • John Bessant (1892-1982), English cricketer who played for Gloucestershire between 1921 and 1928

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Edward William Bessant (d. 1912), aged 31, English Baggage Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [4]
  • William Edward Lowe Bessant (1870-1912), English fireman, member of the engineering crew aboard the RMS Titanic who died in the sinking [4]


  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th March 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/emma-eugenia
  4. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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