This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it is habitational, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "(e)auld" meaning old, and "cot", a shelter or cottage; hence, "dweller in an old cottage". It may also be a variant of Alcock, coming from a diminutive of various male personal names beginning with "Al", such as Alan, Albert and Alexander, with the popular medieval suffix "-cock", used here as a nickname from the bird. The application of the nickname could be for various reasons, it was often used for a young lad who strutted proudly like a cock, and soon became a generic name for young men. It may also have applied to a natural leader, or an early riser, or even a lusty or aggressive individual. The recording of John Alkot in the Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire, dated 1290, may have been a misreading of Alkoc. In the modern idiom the name is found as Alcott, Allcott, Allcoat, Aucott and Aucutt. Recordings from Bedfordshire Church Registers include: the christening of Ann, daughter of Samuel and Mary Aucutt, on July 21st 1774, in Biggleswade, and the christening of their other daughter, Sarah, on July 5th 1778, in the same place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip de Allecote, which was dated 1255, in the "Hundred Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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