This unusual name is of Norman French origin and is a metonymic occupational surname for a dyer or a seller of rich, brightly coloured cloth, often of a brilliant, vivid red colour. The derivation of the name is from the Old French word "Escarlate", scarlet, which by 1182 was already being used as the name of a cloth, particularly bright red cloth. The ultimate derivation is from the Latin "Scarlata". The modern surname can be found in either of two forms; Scarlet or Scarlett. One Gregory Skarlett is listed in the University of Oxford's Register for 1506. Sir James Yorke Scarlett (1799 - 1871) led the charge of the heavy brigade at Balaclava in 1854, and was appointed to command the entire British Cavalry in the Crimea on his return to England he commanded the Aldershot camp from 1865 - 1870. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Scarlet, which was dated 1185, in the Records of the Templars in England, (Oxfordshire), during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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