This unusual surname is of medieval English origin, and is a diminutive form of the Norman personal name "Ivo", itself a short form of any of the various Germanic compound names with a first element "Iv", ultimately from the Old Norse "yr", plural "ifar", yew, bow (a weapon generally made from the wood of the yew tree). This name was popular in Normandy and Brittany, and was introduced into England at the time of the Conquest. One, Herbertus filius (son of) Ivonis was noted in the Domesday Book f 1086, and an Ivo de Gausla in "Documents relating to the Danelaw", Lincolnshire, dated 1155-1160. Early examples of the surname include: Roger Yuo, (Lincolnshire, 1175); William Ivet, (Staffordshire, 1271) and John Iuot (Cambridgeshire; 1327). It is interesting to note that two pre existing Anglo-Saxon names "Ifa" and "Iva" were reinforced by the introduction of the Norman "Ivo". The predominance of the latter was largely due to the popularity of St. Ivo, bishop of Chartres, (deceased 1115), and a 13th Century Breton saint of the name who came to be recognized as the patron of lawyers. On February 4th 1581 John Ivatt and Mary Hanwell were married at St. Christopher le Stocks, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Ivatt family of London on June 27th 1626, is silver, on a red cross five fleurs-de-lis of the field, the Crest being an armed cubit arm holding in the gauntlet all proper, a gold fleur-de-lis, emerging from a mural coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Ivette, which was dated 1263, in the "Fines Court Rolls of Suffolk", 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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