This interesting surname of French origin is a metonymic occupational name for a maker of chain mail, deriving from the Old French "cot(t)e" meaning "coat of mail". It is unlikely to have been a nickname for a wearer of a coat of mail, since only the richest classes, who already had distinguished family names of their own, could afford to be so well protected in a garment which required many hours of skilled labour to construct. The surname dates back to the mid 16th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Barthra Cottye who married Elyzabeth Hyde on June 15th 1598, in London. Thomas Cottee married Anne Pepys on May 28th 1708, at St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf, London, and Elizabeth, daughter of George and Mary Cottee, was christened in 1772, at Christ Church Spitalfields, Stepney. One Elizabeth Cottee married Cottleb Sucher on December 15th 1794, at St. Anne Soho, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter Cottye married Sisley Rayner, which was dated 1568, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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