Recorded as Lancett, Lancetter, Lanceter, Lancetor, and possibly others, in these spellings is an English surname, but one of medieval French origins. It is apparently occupational for an early physician who carried out 'blood letting' the popular and high dangerous practice which almost certainly killed more than it cured. The derivation is from the French word 'lancette', being a very sharp knife with pointed blade, from which developed the military weapon, the lance. The name is quite rare in all its forms, possibly because the term 'barber' which originally had a similar meaning, and had been in common useage for several centuries after the Norman-French Invasion of England in 1066. Occupational surnames generally only became hereditary when a son followed his father or perpahs grandfather, into the same profession of business. If not the name died out. Early examples of recordings from surviving church registers of the city of London include Lawrence Lancett who married Sibell Bendall at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 27th 1639, and Dorothea Lanceter who married Richardus Reinolds at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on Christmas Day 1667.
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