This interesting and long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and belongs to that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral qualities, and to habits of dress and behaviour. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Middle English "swete", sweet, pleasant, agreeable (Olde English pre 7th Century "swete"), used to denote an affable, kindly person. The Olde English personal bynames "Swet, Sweta" (masculine) and "Swete" (feminine), derived from "swete" (above), may also be the source of the surname. These personal names are recorded as "Suet" and "Suot" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and a Swet le Bone was noted in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Norfolk. Early examples of the surname include: Adam Swet (Worcestershire, 1211); Richard Swote (London, 1313); and Johannes Swete (Yorkshire, 1379). On September 18th 1570, Henry Sweet and Elizabeth Ballye were married at St. Thomas', Salisbury, Wiltshire. Robert Sweet (1783 - 1835), a noted horticulturist, had the genus "Sweetia" named after him. A Coat of Arms granted to the Sweet family is a red shield with two chevrons between as many mullets in chief and a rose in base argent, seeded gold, barbed green. Crest: On the top of a tower issuing proper an eagle with wings endorsed gold, in the beak a green oak branch. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wilmund Svote, which was dated 1179, in the "Book of Seals", Bedfordshire, 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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