This interesting surname, spelt as Arnot and Arnott, is primarily of Scottish origin, and is a locational name from the lands of Arnot in the parish of Portmoak in Kinross-shire, so called from the Gaelic "ornacht", barley; hence, "place where barley is grown". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. One David Arnot of Fife rendered homage in 1296, and Michael de Arnot was one of the garrison of Edinburgh Castle in 1337. Henricus de Arnot, knight, who attested to the marches (boundaries) of Kyrknes and Louchor in 1395, was recorded in a 14th Century Calendar of Documents relating to the Priory of St. Andrew, Scotland. The first of the family noted in the parish of Stewarton, Ayrshire, was John de Arnot, a jury member in 1417, and in 1429, it is recorded that the lands of Arnot in the sheriffdom of Fife were granted to a John de Arnutis. Hugo Arnot, historical writer and advocate, published a "History of Edinburgh" in 1779. Arnot(t) may, in some instances, be a variant of the English surname Arnold, itself coming from a Norman personal name composed of the Germanic elements "arn", eagle, and "wald", rule. Variant forms of the surname from this source include: Arnald, Arnatt, Arnaud and Arnot(t). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Michael de Arnoth, which was dated 1284, in "Memorials of the Browns of Fordell", Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. 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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