This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old French origin, introduced into Britain after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and has two possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be French locational from Montfiguet in the department of Calvados, Normandy. The placename is thought to derive from the French "mont", mountain, hill, with a diminutive of "figuier", fig tree; hence "hill where fig trees are grown". Locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their village or place of origin to settle elsewhere. The surname was first recorded in Scotland in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below). Richard Muschet and David Muschet of Angus rendered homage in 1296. Secondly, the surname may derive from the Old French "mouschet, mousquet", a musket, little hawk. Interestingly, nearly all early firearms were called after birds of prey and the "Musket" being a "Hawk" was an early example. However, the surname is from the bird, and it was a metonymic occupational name for a trainer of hawks. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Osketell Muschet is noted in the Pipe Rolls of Suffolk (1177). Recorded in various Church Registers were the marriage of William Muschette and Helen Winzett on December 23rd 1625 at Kilmadock, Perth, and the marriage of George Muschett and Ann Gifford on March 15th 1648 in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Munfiehet (for Munfichet), which was dated 1165, in the "Register of Passelet Monastery", Scotland, during the reign of King William "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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