This Anglo-Cornish surname has Norman French and Breton pre 10th century origins. It is job-descriptive, was probably introduced by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion, The derivation is from the word "cotte", which does not in this instance mean a dwelling place, but either a wearer or more likely, the maker of chain mail armour. This was a highly skilled process and expensive process, and only the most wealthy could have afforded the final 'garment'. The original nameholders are likely to have been persons of some considerable standing in the local community. The name is recorded in France as Cotte, Cottu and Cottey, whilst in England the usual spellings are Cottle, an early form of Cutler, and Cotte, Cotty, Cottie, Cottey, Cottle and Cothy. There is some overlap with the word and surname 'Cott', the latter describing one who lived in a house with sufficient land to feed a family of four. In the late medieval period around the year 1500, a "cote" came to mean a cloth outer garment, as in over-coat, but it is clear that the surname refers to makers of armour. The early recordings include such examples as 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 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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