Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this surname 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. "Wulfgeat" is composed of the elements "wulf", meaning 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, and Vlfiet. Not surprisingly the name generated a number of surnames including Wolfit, Woolfit(t), Woffit, Woolfoot, Woolvett, Woollett, Woolatt, and Ullett, Ulyet, Ulyatt, and Ullyott. Early medieval recordings of the surname include Robert Woluyet in 1306; Robert Woluet in 1315; and Margaria Woliet in 1351, all of the county of Essex. In London, the marriage of Elizabeth Woollett and Thomas Raynesforde was recorded at St. James' Clerkenwell, on January 14th 1566, whilst William Woolfitt and Elizabeth Ruscome were married ar the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on Christmas Day 1768. William Woollett (1735 - 1785), the line-engraver, received the title of Engraver to His Majesty" in 1776. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eudo Wluiet. This was dated 1199, in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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