This Cornish surname has French-Breton origins. It is job-descriptive, and derives originally from the word "cotte", which strictly describes a wearer of a coat of mail armour, but is more likely to be a nickname for one who actually made such expensive "garments". The name is found in France as Cotte, Cottu and Cottey. The most popular spelling form in England is Cottle, which again is of French origins and an early form of Cutler, one who makes knives. The name is also recorded in Cornwall as Cotte, Cotty, Cottie, Cottey, Cottle and Cothy, but in all cases the origin is the same. In the late medieval time a "cote" came to mean an outer garment, as in over-coat, but it is clear that the surname refers to makers of armour. The early recordings include: William Cottie, of St. Columb Major, on July 30th 1567; Jacob Cothey, who married Grace Hodge at Tregony, on March 18th 1682; and Edward Cothy, christened at St. Ives, Cornwall, on March 1st 1809. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Cotella, which was dated 1167, in the "Pipe Rolls of Dorset", 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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