Recorded in a wide number of spellings including Allicock, Alycock, Alcock, Ellcock, Elcot, Elcoate, Ellacott, Ellicot, Ellicott, and others, this interesting surname is of Medieval English origin. Although many spellings are now to be found with the suffix ending of 'cock,' there seems to be little doube that 'cott' was the original form. It is locational from either of two places now called Elcot in the counties of Berkshire and Wiltshire. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name "Ella", with cott, meaning a shelter or cottage. It is first recorded in the year 1237 in Wiltshire, and as Ellecote in the charter rolls of Berkshire in 1286. During the Middle Ages when it became more common for people to migrate from their birthplace, they would often adopt the placename as a means of identification. As spelling was at best indifferent before Victorian times, and local dialects very thick, surnames were often recorded in many varied forms, some as with this one, far removed from the original. The early surviving church registers of the city of London include recordings such as the marriage of Elizabethe Elacot to John Wealler at St Brides, Fleet Street, on February 28th 1587, Hellen Ellacett who married to Richard Wodkeeper (!) at St Botolphs, Bishopgate, on September 16th 1622, and the christening of Margaret Ellicock on January 25th 1761 at St. Botolph's Without Aldgate. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this sometimes was known as the 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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