This very interesting surname recorded in the spellings of Nutt, Nott, and the diminutive Nutkins, has two possible origins. The first being a metronymic occupational name for a farmer or merchant of nuts from the Olde English 'Cnut' and the 12th century Middle English 'note' or 'nut' . 'Nuts' formed a significant and vital role in the winter diet of the ancient peoples, and large areas of woodland were intensively farmed to provide these essential fruits. The second possibility is that the name was given as a nickname to a 'hard man' - one as tough as a nut.As the name was also the name of a 'Viking' King of England in the famous King Canute, or more correctly spelt 'Cnut'. It is clear that the meaning was far from derogatory. Amongst the early recordings was Adam Notekyn of Essex in the Hundred Rolls of that county in 1273, and Hugh le Notte of Buckinghamshire in the same year. John Nutkins, a millerm was also recorded in Essex in the year 1666, whilst Joseph Nutt (1700-1775), the surveyor of highways for Leicestershire introduced a system of 'wetting' the highways of the 18th century, to enable them to be dust free. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Nutte which was dated 1181 The Pipe Rolls of Northamptonshire 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 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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