This interesting surname is of Germanic origin, and is a patronymic (son of) of Hugh, from the Old German personal name "Hugo", meaning heart or soul. It was introduced into Britain by followers of William the Conqueror after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and it is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in Huntingdonshire and Suffolk. The name Hugh gained popularity after the 14th Century due to St. Hugh, a Bishop of Lincolnshire. A famous bearer of the surname, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was one Samuel Burt Howlett (1794 - 1874), who was a military surveyor and inventor; he published a treatise on perspective in 1828, and invented a method of construction for large drawing-boards, and an anemometer. The surname was first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below), and the surname development has included: Thomas Huwelot (1250, Huntingdonshire); Richard Hulot (1275, Suffolk); and Walter Howlot (1310, Devonshire). In the modern idiom the name can be spelt Howlett, Hewlett, Hulatt and Hewlitt. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Hughelot, which was dated circa 1248, in "Records of Bec Abbey", Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "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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