This interesting name, with variant spellings Chatt and Katte, derives from the old English pre 7th Century "catt", reinforced by the old Norman French "cat", old French "chat" meaning "cat", and was originally given as a nickname to someone thought to bear a fancied resemblance to the animal. The surname is first recorded in the latter part of the 12th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include: Geoffrey Chat- "The Book of Seals", Suffolk, (1190), Margaret Kat, witness, "The Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire", (1202), and Adam le Chat, the 1203 Pipe Rolls of Wiltshire.In some instances, Catt, with diminutive Catell, Caton and Katin, may also be a pet-form of the female given name Cat(e)lin, an Anglo-Norman French form of Catherine, ultimately from the Greek "Ratharas", pure. On September 26th 1619 Symeon Catt and Marie Wilder were married in Tottenham, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Cat, which was dated 1167, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", 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 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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