This most interesting early medieval English surname is a variant of "Willmott", itself composed of "Willm", a short form of the Old German personal name "Wilhelm" (William), plus the diminutive suffix "-ott", hence "Willm-ott". The personal name "Wilhelm" is composed of the Germanic elements "wil", meaning will or desire, and "helm", protection, helmet, and was first introduced into England by the Normans in the aftermath of the Conquest in 1066. Other surnames from this source in the modern idiom include Willmett, Willmutt, Willmin, Willament and Wilmot. The surname was first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below). One Robertus filius Willelmi is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, while the personal names "Williametta" and "Willimett" appear in the Close Rolls of the Tower of London, circa 1200. Henry Wilmot is mentioned in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1273, and the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire record Matilda Wylmot in 1379. Alicia Wilmote married Johanes Hobkinson on November 27th 1591 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London, and Elizabeth Willimott was christened on May 2nd 1695 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. A Coat of Arms was granted to a Willimot family in Derby in 1662 which depicts on a fess between three silver eagle's heads couped, three red escallops, on a black shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Wilimot, which was dated 1252, in the "Cartulary of Ramsey Abbey", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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