This picturesque and unusual surname is of Medieval French origin, and has two possible sources, the first being that it is a metonymic occupational name for a "soothsayer" or a "village elder", and is derived from the Old French "prophete", prophet. However, it may also be an occupational name or a nickname for an actor who played the role of a prophet in the Miracle Plays or Pageants popular in medieval times, with the same derivation as above. Proffitt, found also as Prophet and Profit, was likely to have been introduced by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066.An early recording of this name is of Gunnora Prophete in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex of 1327. Amongst the sample recordings in London is the christening of Elizabeth Proffitt on October 12th 1617 at St. James's, Clerkenwell. Anne, daughter of George Profit was christened on June 24th 1635, at St. Giles Cripplegate, London, while one Beniamin Proffitt was christened here also on March 18th 1633. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Profete, which was dated 1220, Curia Rolls of Berkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, "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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