This unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and derives from one of the diminutive forms of the male given name Joseph, itself coming from the Hebrew "Yosef", may He (God) add another son. In England the personal name occurred very occasionally before the Norman Conquest of 1066, as the name of a cleric, and is recorded in its Latinized form, "Josephus", in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name was usually given in honour of St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary, and Joseph of Arimathea, who buried the body of Jesus and whom legend connects with Glastonbury Abbey and the Holy Grail. "Joses", a Greek adaption of the name, and "Giuseppe", the Italian form, influenced the various diminutive and pet forms which arose. These include: Joe, Josey, Jessel, Jessop and Jessett. Early recordings of the surname are: William Joseph (Hampshire, 1191), and John Jesop (Yorkshire, 1379). On August 7th 1614, William, son of Thomas Jessett, was christened at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nic Jeset, which was dated November 20th 1571, marriage to Joan Rogers, at Tonbridge, Kent, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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