This interesting name has a number of possible origins. The first of these is from Malet, a medieval diminutive form of "Mal(le)", itself a pet form of Mary. The second is Norman in origin, from the Old French personal name "Malhard", from the Germanic elements "madal", council, with "hard", hardy, brave, strong. Malet can also be derived from either of two Old French nicknames: the first from the Old French "maleit", meaning "accused", and applied to an unfortunate person, and the second from "ma(i)let", a nickname for a fearsome warrior, or a metonymic occupational name for a Smith, derived from "ma(i)l", hammer. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, and to habits of dress. One Gawen Mallett was listed in the Register of the University of Oxford in 1586. The marriage of Anthony Mallett and Margaret Merdeth was recorded at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London, in 1619. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Malet, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Suffolk, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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