This interesting name is a variant form of the surname Gillett, which has two possible origins. Firstly it may be a topographical name for someone living at the top of a glen or ravine, from the Old Norse and Middle English "gil(l)" and "heved", head, from the Olde English "heafod". Alternatively, the name may be composed of "Gill", a pet form of the personal names Giles, Julian, or William, plus the French diminutive suffix "-ett", hence the French personal name "Guillet" is a hypocoristic of "Guillaume", the French form of William. In the same way, "Gilot", "Gillet" and "Gillot" are diminutive of "Gille" which itself derives from "Giles", a medieval given name. The surname first appears in records in the mid 13th Century (see below). One Peter Gyllot was recorded in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire in 1260. One Agnes Gillett married John Hollingworth on June 22nd, 1572 at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London, and Anne Gellett married Thomas Stirrup at St. Dunstan's Stepney, London on September 7th 1646. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gilet, which was dated 1242, "The Assize Court Rolls of Durham", during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Frenchman", 1216-1272. 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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