Recorded in a number of different spellings including Rowat, Rowet, Rowatt and Rowett, this is a much travelled surname. It can be described as Anglo-Scottish, but is possibly of Olde English pre 7th century origins, or a French medieval introduction at the time of the Norman Invasion of 1066, itself of Germanic or even Scandanavian origins! It may derive from a given name such as Rue, a short form of Rudolph, or from Rous, meaning red or even from Rollo, a popular Germanic given name of ancient times. We believe it derives from the Olde English pre 7th century 'Row', itself recorded in the modern popular surname as Row or Rowe, and describing a person who lived in the 'village row', or the main part of the village, but we accept that for some nameholders at least, this may not be correct. The suffix ending is the French diminutive 'petit', to give in this case the meaning of 'Little Row' or more probably 'Son of Row'. 'Petit' shortened to 'et', was a regular addition to base surnames throughout the middle ages both in England Scotland, and of course France itself. 'Black's Scottish Surnames' claims the surname to be a form of the French 'Rouat', but does not explain how the first recording came to be the Gaelic 'Makrowat', although this spelling was only fleetingly applied. There is little doubt that for many name holders the place of origin was the south west of Scotland, the old English speaking kingdom of Strathclyde, and it is from this area that most early recordings are to be found. Recordings of the surname and its variants taken from early surviving charters and church recordings include: Katherine Rowat of Glasgow in 1554, and John Rowet, a member of the Scottish Parliament for the same city in 1585. In England George Rowet was christened on September 15th 1605 at Coningsby; Lincolnshire, whilst Edward Rowett, married Anne Flower on November 17th 1629 at Tattershall, also Lincolnshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name in an acceptable modern form is that of John Makrowat of Wigtown, Scotland in 1513. This was during the reign of King James V of Scotland who reigned from 1513 to 1542. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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