This interesting surname is a locational name from the Gaelic "dun" meaning "fort". It can also be a nickname given to a person with dark hair deriving from the middle English, old English pre 7th Century "dunn" meaning "dark-coloured" plus the diminutive suffix "et". The surname dates back to the early 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one John de Dunheurd (1246) "Sir Christopher Hatton's Book of Seals, Wiltshire". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Dunit, Dunnett, Donnett, etc. One Mary, daughter of Robert Donnett was christened at St. Andrew's church, Holborn, on January 7th 1592. Records show one Katharine Donnat in Holand-Mey in 1663 (Caithness). Charles, son of Esther and Charles Dunnet, was christened at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, London on January 23rd 1785. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Dunheued, which was dated 1201, "The Pipe Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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