This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and firstly may be a nickname for a rapacious person, deriving from the Middle English "kete" a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "cyta" meaning kite (bird). Secondly, it may be a metonymic occupational name for a herdsman, from the Olde English "cyte" meaning hut, a shed or outhouse for cattle or sheep. The surname dates back to the mid 12th Century (see below). Early examples of the name include Richard Kyte (1243) in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset, and Ralph atte Kete (1292) in the "Place Names of Kent".Variations in the spelling of the surname include Keit, Keyte, Kett, Kyte, Keat, and Keate. London Church Records list the christenings of Elizabeth Kyte on September 24th 1575 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and William, son of John Kite, on November 22nd 1618 at St. Giles Cripplegate. One C. Kite, aged 18 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Bristol aboard the "Cosmo" bound for New York on May 20th 1847. A Coat of Arms granted to a Kite family of Ebrington, Gloucestershire, is blue on a chevron between three gold kites' heads erased, three red trefoils slipped. The Crest is a gold kite's head erased. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ailnoeth Kete, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipes Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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