Recorded in the spellings of Foot,Foote,Foott, and Footer, this is a famous surname, recorded throughout England, but probably most associated with the West Country. It is believed to have pre 7th century Norse-Viking origins, to derive from the word "fotr". This was probably a descriptive and possibly occupational for a fast runner or a messenger, one "fleet of foot". In the later medieval period, known for its "robust humour", the name may also have been at times a cruel nickname for a person with a deformed foot, but this was certainly not the original meaning. Had the "nickname" been the general meaning, it is difficult to see how it could have survived as a surname. There is also a possibility that in the surname spelling as Footer, this was topographical for a person who lived "at the foot" (of a hill or similar), but this is not proven. What is clear is that the recordings of the name go as far back as written history permits, with examples such as Robert Fot in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Yorkshire in the year 1166, Seild Fot in the Curia Regis rolls of Hampshire in 1212, Johannes Fote in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls of York. The earliest known recording, and one which pre-dates most other surname recordings by at least two centuries, is that of Goduin Fot, in the 1086 Domesday Book for Kent and Cheshire. This man was a close follower of King William 1st, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087.
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