This uncommon and distinguished name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Westmancote near Tewkesbury in Worcestershire. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Westmonecote", and appears in the Fees Book for the county of 1212 as "Westmanecota"; the name means "the cottage or shelter of the Western men", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "west", west, "mann", man, and "cot", cottage, shelter, especially for animals and their keepers. The placename may refer to a settlement of Welsh people in using the phrase "Western men". Locational surnames, such as this, were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Recordings of the name from various Church Registers include: the marriage of Richard Westmacote and Margreete Yles, at South Cerney, Gloucestershire, on November 27th 1593; the christening of Thomas Westmacott on August 30th 1682, at Northleach, Gloucestershire; and the marriage of Mary Westmacott and Thomas Young at Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire, on May 10th 1785. A notable bearer of the name was Sir Richard Westmacott, the renowned sculptor (1775 - 1856); many of his monuments are to be found in Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's, London. His son, Richard (1799 - 1872), was also a sculptor of repute. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elena de Westmecote, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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