Recorded in the spellings of Garr, and the diminutives Garlat, Garlot, Garlett, Garlette, all of whom mean "Little Garr" or "son of Garr", this is a surname of Olde English pre 7th Century origins. It is possibly topographical, but the diminutives are almost certainly baptismal, and there are several possible meanings. In its base form it may be residential for a dweller by a fish trap, a gar being a small pike, but other possible variations are from residence by a hill fort, earthwork or even a triangular shaped piece of land cleared for agriculture.A further variant is as a nickname from the Medieval English "Gere", meaning a wild, violent, or passionate person as in Joscelyn Gere of Suffolk, c.1185. The name development also includes Henry Garr who was recorded at St. Dunstans in the East, London, in 1570, William Garlett, at St. Giles Cripplegate, London, on April 21st 1604, and Hester Garlat, at St Mary's church, Stoke Newington, on February 4th 1658. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of John de la Gare. which was dated 1181, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Kent". This was during the reign of King Henry 11nd, known as "The Church Builder", 1154 - 1189. 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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