This is a medieval English nickname surname which derives from either the Olde English pre 7th Century "Cat" or the Norman-French "Chat" the latter being an introduction after 1066. The name was given to a quick moving person, possibly a successful hunter, one who combined the animals attributes. The modern name spellings include Catt, Katte, Chatt etc. The name development Geoffrey Chat, who was recorded in the Seal Holders List of Suffolk in 1190, Margaret Cat, 1202, the Court List of Lincoln and James Catt, the Rector of Gresham, Norfolk, 1678. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Catt. which was dated 1167, in the "County Rolls of Norfolk". during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Church Builder", 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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