This interesting and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and represents the rare survival of an Olde English pre 7th Century personal name, "Wulfgeat". Few native given names were retained after the Norman Conquest of 1066, when a large number of Continental personal names were introduced and subsequently became very popular, either from choice or expediency. The name "Wulfgeat" is composed of the elements "wulf", wolf, and the ethnic name "Geat". This refers to the original Scandinavian people to which the legendary 'Beowulf' belonged. 'Wulfgeat' is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in a variety of forms including "Wluiet, Wluiat, Vlfiet, etc. Not surprisingly the name generated a number of surnames, ranging from Wolfit, Woolfit(t), Woffit and Woolvett, to Woollett, Woolatt, and the maily Yorkshire Ullett, Ulyet, Ulyatt, and Ullyott. Medieval recordings of the surname include Robert Woluyet (1306, Essex); Robert Woluet (1315, ibid.); and Margaria Woliet (1351, ibid.). In London, the marriage of Elizabeth Woollett and Thomas Raynesforde was recorded at St. James', Clerkenwell, on January 14th 1566. A distinguished bearer of the name was William Woollett (1735 - 1785), the draughtsman and line-engraver; he received the title of "Historical Engraver to His Majesty" (George 111, 1760 - 1820) after engraving West's "Death of General Wolfe" in 1776, and his works were much admired on the Continent, the first English engraver to achieve such distinction. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eudo Wluiet, which was dated 1199, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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