This interesting name, with variant spelling Porritt, Parrott, Perot(t), Perrett, Parrett and Porrett, is of French origin, and derives from the French male given name "Pierre", itself a cognate of Peter, from the Greek "Petros", the masculine form of "petra" meaning "rock". The given name was extremely popular throughout Christian Europe in the Middle Ages, as it was bestowed by Christ as a byname on the apostle Simon bar Jonah; St. Peter is regarded as the founding father of the Christian Church in view of Christ's comment, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church". The above forms show the addition of the diminutive suffixes "-et(t), -ot(t)" and "-it(t)". The surname was first recorded in the latter part of the 11th Century (see below), the namebearer most likely being a follower of William the Conqueror, who was granted lands in England. Other early recordings include: Ralph Perot, a witness in the 1235 Fine Court Rolls of Essex; William Poret, recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire, dated 1301; and John Porrett, Perott or Parrett, listed in the Oxford University Register, dated 1520. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was Robert Porrett (1783 - 1868), a chemist who discovered electric endosmosis in 1816. Other recordings include Charles Parrett, a witness at St. Clements Church, Ipswich, on May 13th 1857 and on March 5th 1848, William, son of Edmund Gilespie Porritt, was christened in St. James', Bermondsey, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Peret, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Suffolk, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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