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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Tarrant family come from? What is the English Tarrant family crest and coat of arms? When did the Tarrant family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Tarrant family history?

The name Tarrant first arose amongst the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from their having lived in in Dorset at one of the eight places that have the prefix Tarrant. They include: Tarrant Crawford; Tarrant Gunville; Tarrant Hinton; Tarrant Keyneston; Tarrant Launceston; Tarrant Monkton; Tarrant Rawston; and Tarrant Rushton. The place name Tarrant is derived from the "Celtic river-name possibly meaning 'the trespasser' and in 'river liable to floods." [1] All of these parishes and villages are in the Blandford union, hundred of Pimperne [2] and are collectively listed in the Domesday Book as Tarente. [3] It seems that in the 13th century the parishes either expanded or separated and accordingly a suffix was needed to distinguish them. In many cases, the suffix was used to denote the families that lived there as in: Tarrant Gunville, home to the Gundeville family; Tarrant Keyneston, home of the Cahaignes family; Tarant Launceston, home to the Lowin family; Tarrant Rawston, home to the Antioch family; and Tarrant Rushton, home to the de Rusceaus family. The one exception was Tarrant Monkton which denoted as 'estate belonging to the monks of Tewkesbury Abbey.' [1]


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 Tarrant has appeared include Tarrant, Tarrents, Tarrent, Tarant, Tarent, Tarrat, Tarrett and many more.

First found in one of the aforementioned villages named Tarrant in Dorset. Some of the first records of the surname include Reginald de Tarenta who was listed in Lancashire in 1190, John de Tarent who was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of Middlesex in 1212 and Ralph Tauraunt who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. [4] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Abbatissa de Tarento in Dorset in 1273. [5]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tarrant research. Another 187 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1621 and 1784 are included under the topic Early Tarrant History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tarrant Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Tarrant family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Tarrant arrived in North America very early:

Tarrant Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Francis Tarrant, who sailed to Boston, Massachusetts in 1712
  • Henry Tarrant to Virginia in 1731
  • John Tarrant to America in 1754

Tarrant Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Tarrant, English convict from Devon, who was transported aboard the "Anna Maria" on March 6, 1848, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Tarrant arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John Woodall" in 1849
  • George Tarrant, aged 36, a shepherd, arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Oregon"
  • William Tarrant (aged 18), a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Aurora"


  • Richard Edward Tarrant (b. 1942), American businessman and politician
  • Guy Tarrant, English contemporary artist
  • Colin Tarrant (b. 1952), English actor
  • Christopher John Tarrant (b. 1942), English radio broadcaster and television presenter
  • Harley Tarrant (1860-1949), Australian builder of the first motor car built in Victoria, Australia and the first petrol engine motor car built in Australia
  • Frank Tarrant (1880-1951), Australian all-rounder cricketer
  • Harman Tarrant, Australian politician who was elected as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
  • Chris Tarrant (b. 1980), Australian rules football player


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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  4. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  6. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  7. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  8. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  11. ...

The Tarrant Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tarrant Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 17 September 2015 at 08:33.

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