This ancient and distinguished name is of Norman (French) origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066 by a follower of William 1, who was granted lands in return for his military services. The surname Montagu, Montague or Montacute is locational, and derives from a place called 'Montaigu' in La Manche, Normandy, so called from the Old French 'mont', hill and 'agu', pointed, from the Latin 'acutus'. Montacute is the Latin form of the name, and has been preserved in the place now called 'Montacute' in Somerset, which may also have generated a proportion of the modern surnames.The place was called 'Biscopestun' (the bishop's settlement) in Anglo-Saxon England, and is recorded as 'Montagud' in the Domesday Book of 1086, after being re-named by its Norman owners. In the 14th and 15th Centuries a branch of the Montacute family held the titles of Baron Montacute and Earl of Salisbury (after 1301). Their arms are three red lozenges (diamonds) on a silver field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Drogo de Montagud, which was dated 1084, The Geld Rolls of Somersetshire, during the reign of King William 1, 'The Conqueror', 1066-1087. 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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