This interesting name is of French, English and finally Scottish origins. The original name holders probably entered England with William the Conqueror in 1066, and it is said that Manseaus Byssett or Bissett was a baron and chief sewer to King Henry 1st in 1100 a.d. The name is a diminutive form of the pre-medieval 'Bis', translating as 'pale or greyish' and in the context of a surname it was originally a nickname for the son of a person with a palid complexion, or possibly one who held an 'indoor' position such as a cleric.Be that as it may the name has long held high status' the clan in Scotland being known as 'Bisset and all that Ilk'. King William the Lion (of Scotland) on his return from captivity in Falaise in 1174, had as a companion Henricus Byset. With his son John, he was granted extensive lands in Aberdeenshire, being Lord of Aboyne. The Bissets of Lessendrum still flourish there Early examples of the surname recordings include Walter Biset of Schedenestun, Scotland in 1226, and Maunsel Bisset of Worcester, England, in 1273. Amongst the church recordings are those of Jacobus Besat, prior of St. Andrews in 1395, whilst Alexander Bissett and Kattrin Cultis were married at St Nicholas church, Aberdeen on May 15th 1591. Early variant forms include Bissaite (1468) Bissait (1529), and Bissaite (1630). The earliest coat of arms has the blazon of a blue field charged with a silver bend. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ernulf Biset, which was dated 1155, at the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The Builder of Churches', 1154-1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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