This interesting and curious surname is an unusual variant of Hermite, which is of Old French origin, and is a nickname given at least as often to someone who lived in an isolated spot or who was not on good terms with their neighbours, as to actual hermits. Other surnames from this source include Armett, Armit, and Hermitte. Nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of occupations or to personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. The surname is first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below), while other examples include: William le Heremit, in the Curia Rolls of Yorkshire (1208); Andrew Ermite, in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Ramsey (1255); and Thomas Harmyt, in the Rochester Court Wills (1526). William Armitt married Mary Atkings on October 18th 1665, at St. James', Duke's Place, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts three silver helmets close, with a gold bordure on a silver shield, with the Motto "Fortis in arduis", (Brave under difficulties). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William L'ermite, which was dated 1196, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard 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.
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