This interesting surname of English origin is a metronymic of the female given name. Lett, itself a shortened form of Lettice, deriving from the latin "Laetitia" meaning "happiness" or "gaiety". The name date's back to the late 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Ralph Lette (1296) "The Subsidy Rolls of Sussex". Alicia Letis (1379) "The Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Lettson, Lettsom, Letson, etc. Johan, daughter of William Lett, was christened at St.Leonard Eastcheap, London on June 11th 1542, and one Thomas Letts married Rebecca Baker at St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, London on the 27th February 1632. Thomas Letts (1803-1873) was the inventor of Letts Diaries. One Thomas Lett, an emigrant, sailed aboard the Faulcon bound for Barbados in April 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Warin Letice, which was dated 1273, "The Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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