Recorded in many forms including Margaret, Margett, Margott, this is an English medival surname. Introduced by returning Crusaders from the Holy Land in the 12th century and coinciding with the Christian Revival period, it dervies from the Greek word "margaretes" meaning pearl, although it is claimed that it is ultimately from Persian and to mean "child of light". Metronymic surnames, that is to say surnames from a female name rather than a male name, are much rarer. As to why they occur at all is interesting. They usually show that in medieval times and contrary to public opinion, women were often heiresses in their own right. Sons of these (married) women took their name rather than their fathers. Amongst the early recordings are Henry Margaret who was recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1273, and Hugh Margarete in the Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire in the same year, whilst John Margett appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk, dated 1524. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Margaret. This was dated 1272, in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk, during the reign of King Edward lst, and known as the "Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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