This most unusual and interesting name is of Old French origin, introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. The surname has a number of possible interpretations; firstly, it may have developed from a nickname for a particularly strong person, from the Old French adjective, "fort", strong, brave, from the Latin "fortis". In some cases it may be from a rare Latin personal name of the same origin borne by an obscure saint whose cult was popular in the south and south west of France during the Middle Ages. The surname Fort, or Forte, may also be a topographical name for someone who lived near a fortress or stronghold, or an occupational name for someone who was was employed in one, derived from the Old French "fort" used in the concrete sense of a "stronghold". Among the recordings of the name in London are those of the christening of Robert Fort at St. Martin in the Fields, on November 8th 1626, and the marriage of Thomas Fort and Mary Handcocks at St. Jame's, Dukes Place on September 25th 1684. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Fegge Fort, which was dated 1200, in the Lincolnshire Curia Rolls, 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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