Recorded in many spelling forms all quite rare and including: Mignot, Minet, Mynett and Mynott, this is an English surname, but of pre-medieval French origins. Probably introduced by the Normans after the invasion of 1066, it is derived from the word 'mignot', meaning dainty. As such it was originally either a baptismal name of endearment, or later a nickname surname. Humour in the Middle Ages was very robust, and many nicknames, most of which were given to males, were the reverse of the literal meaning.Hence in the famous fables of Robin Hood, the second in command of the outlaws was one "Little John", was so named because he was the largest of the band! It is said that there are at least ten different ways in which this surname can be spelt, and it would seem that it probably had two distinct periods of entry into the UK. The first in the 12th century as above, and the second probably after 1630, and the persecution in France of the Huguenots Protestants, which was to lead to at least fifty thousand skilled people emigrating to the British Isles upto 1760. Early examples of the name recording include: Peter Mignot of Kent in the Pipe Rolls of the year 1191, Nicholas Mynot in the 1379 Poll Tax register of the county of Yorkshire. Kent, and William Minet in the Subsidy Tax register of the county of Suffolk in 1524. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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