Recorded in the modern spellings of Boyat, Boyet, and Boyett, this is one of those unusual surnames which seems to have developed quite independently in two different countries (England and France) and yet because of religious persecution in the name of Christianity, has become intertwined. The surname in England has developed usually as 'Boyett', and as such is probably a diminutive of the Anglo-Saxon pre 7th century personal name 'Boie', whose precise meaning is lost in the mists of time. However like the later endearment surnames Dear, Darling and Mann, it probably originally described 'a boy'. Over the centuries there have been many similar spellings which given lousy spelling and thick local accents may suggest that even in England this surname has several possible origins. However the name is also widely recorded in France as 'Boyet', and this spelling is also recorded in England in 1702, suggesting that it was a Huguenot refugee name at that time. The French name means 'young bull' and was originally either a nickname or a metonymic for the keeper of beef cattle. Early examples of the surname recordings include the first nameholder (below) who married John Watson, during the short period when Britain was a republic, Jean Boyeut, a witness at Igney, France, on December 17th 1688, and John James Boyet, who married Elizabeth Friares at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, England, on September 5th 1702. Henrietta Boyet, was christened at Rostieres-aux-Salines, France, on June 29th 1734, whilst on September 18th 1820, Ann Boyett married William King at St Brides church, Fleet Street, London, England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Boyett, which was dated November 21st 1655, married at St Margarets, Westminster, England, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, known as 'The Great Protector', 1654 - 1658. 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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