In the Medieval times the travelling theatre or pageant provided the only source of public entertainment and the actors retained the same parts to the point where they became wholly identified with them. In this case the derivation is from 'the Primate' ie. the Archbishop - and the name was adopted by the actor playing the part. Occasionally the name could be a sarcastic nickname for one in the village who behaved (or was thought to behave) like a Primate. The name development included (1621) Stephen Primatt of Lincoln, (1621) Richard Primate, an inn-keeper of Chester, whilst in 1679, Humphrey Primatt, was a passenger to London, New England - an early settler. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Primmitt which was dated 1611 The Oxford University Register during the reign of King James 1 of England 1603-1625 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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