Recorded in several spellings including Hesketh, Heskett, Heskit, Haskett and Hasketts, this is an English surname. It is locational and refers to someone from either Hesketh in Lancashire or Hesket in Cumberland. Hesketh in Lancashire, is derived from the pre 7th century Old Norse word "hesta" meaning a horse and "skeid", a course. Horse-racing and horse-fighting or what was later called jousting, were popular pastimes for the Scandinavians, and they are thought to have introduced both sports to England. Hesket in Cumberland was originally "Eskeheud" meaning "the headland overgrown with ash trees". The surname first appears on record in the end of the 13th century (see below), and other early entries include Robert de Heskeythe in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Lancashire in 1332, and Thomas Hesketh in the Assize Rolls of Lancashire in 1390, and Sir William Hesket in Lancashire in 1415. A later recording in the surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London is that of Stephen Haskett, at St Martins Ludgate, on October 18th 1692. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Eskeyth. This was dated 1292, in the Pipe Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, and known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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