This distinguished name has a number of possible sources. Firstly, it may be of Old French origin, and a diminutive form (with the suffix "Let(te)) of the surname Beck or Beake, which derives from the Old French "bec", Middle English "beke", beak (of a bird), used as a nickname for someone with a prominent nose. Secondly, Becket may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational surname from either of the places called Beckett in Berkshire and Devonshire; the place in Berkshire is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Becote", and is named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "beo", bee, and "cot", cottage, shelter. Beckett in Devonshire appears as "Bikkecoth" in the 1242 Book of Fees for the county, and is so called from the Olde English personal name "Bicca", from "bicc", pickaxe, mattock, and "cot", as before. In some few cases, the modern surname may derive from a diminutive of the Northern Middle English "bekke", stream, from the Old Norse (bekkr), used as a topographical name for someone who lived beside a stream. Early examples of the surname include: Robert Beket (1176, Berkshire); John de Beckcote (1279, Oxfordshire); and Robert Becket in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns of 1379. One of the early Coat of Arms granted to the Becket family depicts a red lion rampant between three black pheons on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Bechet or Beckett, which was dated 1155, in "Documents relating to the Danelaw", Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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