This interesting and uncommon name is of Old French origin, introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and distinguished by being first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. It has two possible interpretations; firstly, it may be a diminutive form of an Old Germanic personal name, "Burdo", of now obscure origins, which has also generated the surnames Burditt, Burden, Burdon, Burdoun and Bourdon. The personal name is recorded in Norfolk in 1166: Hamo filius (son of) Burdun. The second possible derivation is from the Old French "bourdon", a pilgrim's staff, where Burdett is again a diminutive form of the surname. The term was used as a nickname for a pilgrim, or for one who carried a pilgrim's staff. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: Frances Burdytt (1579); Joane Burditt (1583); the christening of Richard Burdett at St. Giles' Cripplegate, on December 26th 1594; and the marriage of William Burdett and Frances Pindlebury, at the same church, on May 21st 1620. A Coat of Arms granted to a Burdett family of Surrey depicts, on a blue shield, two gold bars, on each three red martlets. The Crest is a black lion's head erased, langued red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Burdet, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Leicestershire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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