This surname of Anglo-Saxon origin, and recorded in the spellings of Hunt, Hunter, and Hunting, was originally an occupational surname for a hunter. Derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "hunta" and the verb "huntian", the word was probably specific for an official hunter, since anybody who took it upon themselves to hunt game, be they humble pidgeons for the pot or poachers in search of saleable animals, would soon have found themselves in the stocks or worse. So our 'Hunter' is likely to have been either a member of the hunt or a hunt servant since hunting as a sport was an activity restricted to the ranks of the nobility.There are some ndications that the word "hunting" was used as a personal name, as in the placename "Huntingdon" and "Huntingfield", which mean "Hunta's peoples Hill" and "the land of Hunta's people". The earliest recordings include Geoffrey Hunthing of Leicester in 1209, and Roger Hunting in the 1275 Hundred Rolls of Kent, Leonard Hunt was an early emigrant to the New World, leaving London on the "Mathew" in May 1635, bound for St. Christopher's in the Barbados. Among the several notable namebearers listed in the "Dictionary of National Biography" is James Henry Leigh Hunt, (1784 - 1859), essayist and poet, who introduced Keats and Shelley to the public in the "Examiner" (1816), and published "Lord Byron and some of his Contemporaries" (1828). A Coat of Arms granted to the Hunt family of Derbyshire in the reign of Henry V111 is a silver shield with a black buglehorn, stringed green, on a red chief three mullets pierced of the field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Humphrey le Hunte, which was dated 1203, in the "Records of Fines of Sussex", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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