This very unusual name has two separate possible sources, the most likely being a dialectal variation of the surname "Pott", which is either a shortened form of the medieval given name Philpott, itself a diminutive of "Phillip", meaning "lover of horses". Pod(d) or Pot(t) is also a topographic name for one living near or by a depression in the ground. The latter derivation is shown in such placenames as "Potcote" in Northants, or Potsgrove in Bedfordshire. The change in spelling from "tt" to "dd" is a common one and due to regional and dialectal differences as well as careless spelling, for example "Pescott" is a documented variant of "Peascod". The Church Records of the Southwold Independent Church in Suffolk records the baptism of James Pott in 1741 and of Elizabeth Podd in 1757. Matthew Poat was christened on April 28th 1780 at St. Saviour, Southwark, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Pode which was dated 1230, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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