This unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of that interesting group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given with reference to a variety of distinguishing features, among them physical attributes or peculiarities, and mental and moral characteristics. In this case, the surname derives from the Anglo-French (post Norman Conquest) "doucet", a diminutive of the Old French "doux, dous", sweet to eye or ear, pleasing, agreeable, which in later Middle English became "doucet, dowcet". As a nickname, this epithet would have been applied to one thought to be particularly "sweet" and agreeable in disposition, or pleasing to behold. In some instances, the modern surname may derive from this term used as a female personal name, and would therefore be a metronymic; one Walter fil (son of) Dussote is recorded in 1273. Early examples of the surname, now found as Dowsett, Dowcett and Doucet, include John Dousete (1376, London), and William Doucet (1411, ibid.). The marriage of Thomas Dowsett and Eme Bowman was recorded at St. Mary Somerset, London, on July 11th 1586. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Dousot, which was dated 1315, in the "Feet of Fines of Huntingdonshire", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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