This interesting surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, has three possible sources, the first of which is locational either from Beckett in Berkshire, or from Beckett in Devonshire. The former place, recorded as "Becote" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Buccot" in the "Book of Fees" for Berkshire, dated 1220, is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "beo", bee, and "cot", cottage or shelter. Beckett in Devonshire, recorded as "Bikkecoth" in the 1242 "Book of Fees" for that county, has as its component elements the Olde English personal name "Bicca" with "cot" as before. Beckett may also be of topographical origin from residence by a stream, the derivation being from the Northern Middle English "bekke", "stream". The third origin is as a diminutive of the surname Beake, itself a nickname for someone with a prominent nose, from the Middle English "beke". Early examples of the surname include: Robert Becket, (Berkshire, 1176) and John de Beckcote, (Oxfordshire, 1279). No less than eight Coats of Arms have been granted to this illustrious family, one of the earliest being gold, with a chevron between three red leopard's heads. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Bechet, which was dated 1155 in "Documents relating to the Danelaw", Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, "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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