This most interesting and unusual surname, found chiefly in the Cornwall, Devon and Somerset region, is probably of Old French origin, as a variant of "Jouvet", a diminutive of "Jeune", from the Old French "jeuvene", young, which was used to distinguish the younger of two bearers of the same name within a community, who might be brothers or no relation at all. The surname, according to another source, may be of early medieval English origin, from the Middle English given names "Juwet", "Jowet", which originated as diminutives, with the Anglo-Norman French suffix "-et(te)", of "Juwe", a short form of Julian. One Johan Govett, son of William Govett, was christened on April 18th 1569 at Kenn, Devon, while one Thomas Govyt was married on September 17th 1569 at Antony, Cornwall. Jone Govett married John Bawden at St. Neot, in Cornwall, on January 1th 1572, while Johanna Govet, daughter of Thomas Govet, was christened on March 25th 1579 at Wedmore in Somerset. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Christofer Govet, which was dated 1566, a christening witness at St. Keyne, in Cornwall, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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