This interesting and long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name for someone living on the banks of the River Tarrant in Dorset. The river name was first recorded as "Terrente" in 935, and as "Tarente" in 1253. There are a number of interpretations of the (river) name, which derives from the same source as the River Trent. The name may be composed of the elements "tri", through, across, and "sant", travel or journey (from the Olde English pre 7th Century), or it may mean "traveller" or "trespasser", the latter referring to frequent flooding. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname Tarrant could also be locational, from any of the eight or so villages, situated along the Tarrant, called Tarrant-Monkton, Tarrant-Rawston, etc. One Ralph Taraunt was recorded in Sussex in 1296. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with a red chevron between three red eagles' displayed, the Crest being a red demi eagle displayed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald de Tarenta, which was dated 1190, in "Documents of the Danelaw", Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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.