This interesting surname with variant spellings Pollett, Poulett and Powlett, widespread in Lancashire, has three possible sources. Firstly it may derive from the English and French pet name "Pol", itself coming from the medieval Greek personal name "Hipolito", composed of the elements "hippos", horses and "luein", to loose, plus the diminutive suffix "-itt" or "-ett", hence "Poll-itt" or "Pol-ett". This may have been brought to England by French Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution in the 16th Century, as is evidenced by the following recording: Jonathan, son of Nicholas Pollet and Marie Cateau, christened at the Walloon and Strangers Church on September 24th 1592. The second possibility is that Pollitt and its variant forms, is a diminutive from "Poll" or "Powl" popular form of the male given name Paul (from the Latin "Paulus" small). finally, the name may be locational from "Pawlett", in Somerset (spelt "Pavelet" in Domesday Book of 1086), so called from the Old English elements "pal", pole and "fleot", stream. On July 4th 1689, at Manchester Cathedral, Lancashire, Alice, daughter of Abraham Pollitt, was christened. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Polite, which was dated 1222, in the "Curia Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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