This is certainly one of the most interesting surnames that we have ever researched. Balhatchet (also found as Belhatchet) is of French aristocratic origins, the derivation being from the Norman-Breton "Baillehache". The name is almost certainly of 16th century Huguenot origins in Britain, although this is not proven in our researches. The English spelling of the name is a typical anglicization of the period, in effect producing a "sounds like" spelling although this may have been deliberate to hide the obvious foreign (and particularly French) origin, when wars with France were the normal summer pursuit. What is particularly interesting about this name is its meaning. According to French sources it translates literally as " Give the chop" and Larousse quotes it as an "Ancient surname, applique a des familles noble". The surname Butlin is also of French origins, and this translates as "Kick the peasant" - clearly the early French aristocracy adopted (or were given) some very unusual nicknames! Recordings of the surname in England include Edith Bollhatchett who married Jacob Capell at St Margarets Church, Westminster, on October 31st 1621, Louis Bailhache, whose son John was christened at St Pauls Church, Covent Garden, on June 18th 1667, whilst on June 9th 1670, Jone Ballhatchett, daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth was christened at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, London. The Coat of Arms of "Baillehache" is gules, a saltire between four martlets, all gold. This coat of arms indicates somebody who suffered for his faith, and who was reasonably wealthy but did not rely on land- ownership for his fortune. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Michaell Belhatch (or Belhache), which was dated April 5th 1584, christened at St Botolphs without Aldergate, London, 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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