This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational surname deriving from the place called Winscott near St. Giles-in-the-Wood, North Devonshire, or from some other minor or unrecorded place in Devonshire called Win(s)cott. The placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "winn", meadow, pasture, with "cot", cottage, shelter for animals, especially sheep, thus "Wine's Cottage" or "the cottage in the meadow". Locational surnames were given to the Lord of the Manor and to local landowners, and especially to those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Early examples of the surname from Devonshire include: John Wenacote (1580); Johan Wynacote (1587); Katheryne Windcate (1587); Mary Wynycot (1584); and Paskoe Wheracotte (1596). The marriage of John Wyncott and Crysoyn Hayman was recorded in Modbury, Devonshire, on February 12th 1565, and John, son of William Wincott, was christened at St. Mary Major, Devonshire, on November 25th 1660. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wynegod, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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