This interesting surname has two possible origins. Firstly, the surname may be of English topographical origin deriving from the old English pre 7th Century "cyte" meaning a hut, or some kind of shed or outhouse for cattle or sheep; hence "dweller by the hut". One, Ralph atte Kete, is registered in the "Place Names of Kent" in 1292. The second possibility is as a nickname for a fierce or wild person deriving from the Middle English "kete" (old English "Cyta") meaning kite, the bird of prey; hence "wild as a Kite".Clearly the name was considered to be complimentary as otherwise it is difficult to account for its popularity. One, Robert Chet, appears in the Boldon Book of Durham in 1183 and Richard Kyte is noted as a witness in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset in 1243. In the modern idiom, the surname has many variant spellings including Keat, Keet, Keit, Kett, Kitt, Keate, Kyte etc.. On June 23rd 1614, Anne Keyte married Richard Carsell at St. Margaret's, Westminster and William, son of William and Ann Keyte was christened at St. Luke, Old Street, Finsbury, London on November 10th 1776. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ailnoth Kete, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe 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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