There are two possible origins for this unusual name. The first is a nickname derivative from the French "Herlot" means not a woman but a young man - one of playful nature! In Canterbury Tales, Chaucer records - "He was a gentil harlot and kynde". Later in the 14th Century the word described a juggler or clown, whilst the modern meaning is not recorded before the 15th Century. The second possible origin is as a developed form of the Olde English locational name "Elrett" as in Robert aten Erlette of Sussex in 1296 and meaning "one who dwelt by the Alder Trees". It seems that the letter "h" is transferable in that the modern name Arlott, Arlotte or Arlet are all derivatives as in Muriel Arlot, recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Cambridgeshire for 1279. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Herlet, which was dated 1193, The County Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King Richard I, "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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