This interesting surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest. The name derives from the Old French, Middle English "mote", a moat, ditch or fortified stronghold, and was originally given as a topographical name to one who resided by such a fortification, or as a locational name to someone from any of the places in France named with this word. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below) and can also be found as Mott, Motte, Mote and Mothe. Hugo Mott is noted in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire (1379). Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Richard Moth and Betteris Back on January 25th 1562 at St. Peter's, Cornhill; the marriage of Arnold Moth and Maude Wilding on June 12th 1564 at St. Lawrence Pountney; and the christening of Robert, son of Rychard Moth, on February 4th 1569 at St. Nicholas', Cole Abbey. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Moth, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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