Recorded in a number of forms including Hallatt, Hallett, Hallitt, Hallot, Haylett, Hollett, and others, this is a surname of Anglo - French or possibly Germanic - Saxon origins. Although it takes some believing and there are those who are by no means certain, it appears to be - from known recordings - a diminutive from the original name Adlard. This was a very popular ''name'' of the Dark Ages well before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and the coming of surnames. Adlard or in the Latin form as Adlardus (see below) is also recorded as a surname, and has a number of fairly obvious variants such as Allard, Alart, Aylard, Ellard, Ellart, Ellert, and Hallard. The meaning however spelt - is open to interpretation, a polite way of saying that nobody knows for certain. The most likely explanation comes from the Old English or Old German pre 7th century a.d. ''aedel'' meaning noble, so strictly speaking Hallard means ''hard noble'' and the later Hallett, Hallitt etc ''Little noble'' from (H)al-petit. Few people objected to being ''noble'' in ancient times, it was (almost) everybody''s ambition. Many would like to have been called, but few were chosen, so ''names'' tended to represent parental hope, rather than expectation. That said surnames introduced after 1066, underwent centuries of development, through at least two changes of language between the 11th and the 14th century, followed by (in England) the Shakespearean medieval period. This came at a time when for 98% of the population speech was the only form of communication. To add to this local accents were thick enough to cut with a knife, and clerics faced with entering registers often had to resort to ''sounds like'' spellings. Broadly speaking where this surname spelling changed (in England) it went from Adlardus (1125, city of London registers) to Allard or Ellard (1327 Cambridge), and then to Allett, Allitt, or Hallett, Hallitt etc in the Tudor period approximately 1470 to 1600. However church registers were only officially introduced by the infamous King Henry V111th in 1535, after having destroyed the monasteries, so there is something of a knowledge gap. Eliazabethan examples of the surname recordings in surviving church registers of the city of London, include William Hallatt at the church of Holy Trinity, the less, on April 10th 1580, Thomas Hallett at St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on February 23rd 1586 and a century later in what may be a simple misspelling Melier Hallit, christened at St Sepulchre church, on January 7th 1676.
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