This interesting surname is of medieval French origin, and is either a topographical name from residence near the gates of a town, deriving from the Old French "porte" (from the Latin "porta", door, entrance), or an occupational name for the gate-keeper of a town or castle. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient means of dentification in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Job-descriptive names originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Earlier forms of Desport, including "de Port" and "da la Porte", were introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, one Henry de Port being recorded in the 1115 Winton Rolls of Hampshire. On June 17th 1777, Jeanne Desporte and Julien Deffaye were married at Angers, Maine-et-Loire, France, and on October 22nd 1871, Marie Desport married Francois Jean Guillabot at Champeaux-et-la-Chapelle-pommier, Dordogne, France. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General" and depicts on an azure shield the gate of a town with a silver opening and red brickwork. The gate is supported on three silver dice, arranged in pale, each bearing a single black mark. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo de Port, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Kent, during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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