- This very interesting English surname, recorded in modern spellings as Knott, Nott, Note, and Nuth, has three possible origins. The first is as a nickname for a thickset person, from the pre 7th century Olde English "cnotta" meaning a knot or swelling, this type of descriptive and sometimes robust, nickname surname being highly popular in the medieval period. The second, and possibly the more likely for most nameholders being from the pre 6th century Scandinavian personal name "Knutr". This in the fullness of time ecame politically popular, at least in England in the reign of the Danish King Cnut (Canute), who ruled with some success from 1016 to 1035. This personal name 'survived' the Norman Invasion of 1066, and was still in regular use in the 13th Century. Alternatively, the name could also be a topographical for a person who lived by a hill, or projecting rock, from the middle English "Knot" meaning a hillock, as in Knott End, a village in Lancashire. Early examples of the surname include such recordings as Robert Cnot, who was a Knight Templar (Crusader), being so recorded in the 1185 roll of knights, whilst William Cnotte is recorded in the 1206 Curia Regis rolls of Yorkshire. John Knotte was a witness at the 1221 Warwick Assize court, and Hugo Knout in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire in the year 1301. Amongst the early records of the first colonists to the new American colonies of the 17th century was Abraham Knott, the commander of the Ketch "Joseph of London" which sailed for New York in 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Cnot, which was dated 1165, in the pipe rolls of county Suffolk, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as '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.
Surnames reference. 2013.