Butt is a name which since the 17th Century had been very popular in Devon and Cornwall and has been spelled variously as Butts, Butson and Butting, the latter two meaning "son of But". It is a topographic name derived from the Middle English "But" mark for archery, target or goal, ultimately from the old French "but", aim, target. Hence, Butt has come to describe an individual who lived near the archery butts, or perhaps who was himself an archer. The vicar George Butt (1741 - 1795) was appointed Chaplain to King George 111 in 1783 and in 1883 Sir Charles Parker Butt (1830 - 1892) was appointed Justice of the High Court and Knighted. There is a record of 1544 for the christening of one William Butt on 29th March in South Tawton, Devon and on May 2nd, 1610, Mary Butt married Henry Conant at St. Mary's in Offery, Devon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter But, which was dated 1114 - 1130, in the Court Rolls of Ramsey, during the reign of King Henry I, known as the Lion of Justice, 1100 - 1135. 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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