This most interesting and unusual name derives from an early medieval English personal name "Betw", a pet form of "Beton", which itself comes from "Beatrice", a medieval French female given name, borne in honour of a 4th Century saint who was martyred with her brothers, Simplicius and Faustinus. Her name was originally "Viatrix", traveller, adopted by early Christians in reference to the journey through life, and Christ's description of Himself as "the way, the truth and the life". The surname first appears in records in the late 13th Century (see below) and is also found in the modern idiom as "Beat". Beet and Betw were familiar names in Yorkshire where Beatrice was very popular as a personal name in the 13th and 14th Centuries. Alicia and Johannes Bete were recorded in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire in 1379. Further early recordings of the name include the marriage of Doritye Beyt and Thomas Hammond on October 14th 1589 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London; the marriage of Thomas Beetes and Annis Meredith on August 17th 1590 at St. Katherine by the Tower, London; and the marriage of Agnes Beet to Richard Ramson on May 16th 1591 at St. Matthew's, Friday Street, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Bete, which was dated 1298, in the "Descriptive Catalogue of Derbyshire Charters", during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 -1307. 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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