This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it may be derived from a topographical name for someone who lived in a cottage at the lower end of a settlement, from the Middle English "nether(e)", lower, the Olde English pre 7th Century "neothera", and the Middle English "cote, cott", shelter, cottage, from the Olde English "cot". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The second source is habitational, from either Nethercote in Oxfordshire, or Nethercot in Northamptonshire; both of these placenames are derived from the same elements as the topographical name. Recordings from English Church Registers include the marriage of Mihell Nethercott and Jane (no surname given) in 1579, at Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, and the christening of Susane Nethercot on February 4th 1622, at Moulton, Northamptonshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Frances Netherkot, which was dated January 21st 1559, marriage to John Ashley, at St. Dunstan in the East, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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