Recorded as Mushet, Mushett, Mushott, Muskett, and possibly others, this is an English surname, but one of early medieval French origins. Probably introduced after the famous invasion of England by the Normans in 1066, it derives from the word 'mouchet.' This later became 'mousquet' and was anglicised to 'musket.' It translates as 'Lytell Hauke'. Oddly enough 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 not the gun, and it was probably a metonymic name for a trainer of hawks. An early example of the surname development was that of Robert Muschet in the pipe rolls of the city of Nottingham in the year 1200. Examples taken from later surviving church registers fro the city of London include Susan Muskett who was christened at St James Clerkenwell on June 16th 1596, Ellinor Mushet who married William Sibby on January 24th 1668, and William Muscott, a witness at St. Mary Whitechapel on November 4th 1696. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osketell Muschet. This was dated 1177, in the county pipe tolls of Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as the church builder, 1154 - 1189. 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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