Last name: Tothacot
This is a true Devonian surname. It derives from a place called 'Tythecot' about five miles from Torrington in North Devon. The meaning of the village name is obscure. On the face of it means the 'house where the tithes were collected' and this is possible. However 'tithe' collecting took place everywhere in England, but only this village seems to have been named after the process. A more logical explanation is that the prefix derives from the Olde English 'tiedre' meaning 'young'. This suggests that the meaning is the 'New cottage', and some collaboration is given by the Devon village 'Tytherleigh', which has the proven meaning of 'the new clearing' (in the forest). Certainly the surname of Tithecott is rare outside Devon, no examples at all being recorded in London before 1870. Examples of the spelling are Tothacot in Buckland Brewer in 1607, Tythacott in Bideford, (1670) and Tathacott, also in Bideford in 1716. Examples of the recordings include Anthony Tithecott, christened at Alwrington, Devon, on January 20th 1684, and Margrett Tithecott, who married Hugh Nichols at Littleham by Bideford, on February 4th 1729. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Tethecot, which was dated May 15th 1574, who married at Hartland, Devon, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as 'Good Queen Bess' , 1558 - 1603. 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.
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