This most unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "swete, swot", in Middle English "swete", pleasant, sweet, agreeable, which was used both as a male and female personal name and as a nickname. As given names, or bynames, the Olde English "Swet, Sweta" (masculine) and "Swete" (feminine), are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Suet" and "Suot", while Aeluric son of Suete is listed in documents of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, in 1095. As a nickname, "swete" would have been used to describe a particularly popular, agreeable and pleasant-natured person; a great many early European surnames were developed from the habitual use of nicknames, frequently referring to a person's physical appearance or mental and moral characteristics. Early examples of the surname include Richard Swote (1313, London), and William le Swete (1327, Sussex), while the modern surname forms are Sweet(t), Swett, Swait(e), and Swa(y)te. Thomas, son of John Swate, was christened in Hasketon, Suffolk, on October 11th 1538, and Elizabeth, daughter of James Swait, was christened at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London, on March 13th 1655. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Swet, which was dated 1211, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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