Recorded in various forms including Atcourt, Aucourte, A'Court, Corte, Court, and Courtman, this is a surname of ancient French origins. Probably introduced into Britain by the Norman-French invaders in 1066, it was closely associated with the order of society in feudal times. It refers to the residence of the lord of a manor, and by extension came to refer to one either living or employed in or about the manor court. The derivation is from the Old French and Middle English "courte", and ultimately from the Latin "cohors", or in its genitive form, "cohortis", meaning a yard or enclosure. The Middle English "curt" was sometimes used also as a nickname meaning small or short, and this confuses the origin. French forms of the surname include: Cour, Lacourt and Delacourt. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving rolls and registers of the mediavl period include: Richard atte Curt and William de la Court in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex for the year 1296, whilst Richard le Curt of Surrey in 1199 and Richard le Cort of Oxford in 1279 were probably small men but given the robust humour of the period, may have been the reverse! Amongst the early church register recordings is that of Alexander Court, who married Elizabeth Ashpoole on August 14th 1592 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Reginald Corte, which was dated 1181, in the "Pipe Rolls of Suffolk". This was during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames have contnued to "develop" in every country, often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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