This interesting surname with variant spellings Follet, Follett, Follit, Follitt, etc., is a diminutive of Foll, a nickname for an eccentric person, deriving from the Old French "fol" meaning "mad, foolish". The surname dates back to the late 11th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Roger Folet (1158) "The Pipe Rolls of Kent". Church recordings include one Luce, daughter of Roger Follett who was christened on March 12th 1591, and his daughter Elizabeth was christened on April 25th 1594 both at St. Mary Abchurch, London. One Sir William Follett (1798-1845) was an attorney-general. He received an M.A. in Trinity College, Cambridge (1830), called to the bar from Inner Temple (1824), M.P. Ex (1835), solicitor-general under Peel (1834-1835, 1841), attorney-general (1844). He defended Lord Cardigan in the duel case and appeared for Norton against Lord Melbourne. There is a statue of him in Westminster Abbey. He was also granted a coat of arms which consists of a field of twelve red and silver horizontal lines with a black bend, the crest being the top half of a gryphon erect with wings back to back. The Motto "Quo virtus ducit scando" translates as "I climb where virtue leads". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Folet, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book, during the reign of King William 1, known as "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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