This interesting surname is a variant of Knight, which is a medieval status name from the Old English pre 7th Century "criht", meaning boy, youth or serving lad, later extended to mean a tenant bound to serve his lord as a mounted soldier and therefore a man of some importance and substance. Later still, with the changes in the social structure of medieval England, the term "knight", (Middle English "knyghte") meant an honourable estate conferred by the king on men of noble birth who had served him well. The "Knights" of today, however, are far more likely to be descended from a servant in a knight's household or from someone who played the part of a knight in a medieval pageant or won the title in some contest of skill. The modern surname can be found as Knight, Knyvett, Knivett, Knivit, Nevet(t), Nevit(t), Newit(t) and Newet(t). Richard Newitt married Frances Harris on June 23rd 1622 at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godefridus Niht, which was dated 1166, Norfolk Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 11, "Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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