This rare English locational surname is a good example of how some surnames have been created that have little apparent connection with their original sources. The surname in its myriad spellings, is in most cases a 'slang', deriving directly from the local pronunciation of the placename "Southcott". This is a village in the parish of Linslade in Buckinghamshire, near the border with Bedfordshire. It is also a place from which the tenants were 'cleared' in the 18th century under the inquitous Enclosure Acts.The placename is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Sudcote" and means "the southern hut or cottage" from the Old English pre 7th Century "suth", south and "cott" cottage or shelter. Later it was recorded in 1728 as "Circuit", and in 1826 as "Surcote". Examples of the spellings of the modern surname include: Circuit, Circuitt, Cirket, Serkitt, Sirkett, Surkett, Surcot and Surcoate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Suthcote, which was dated 1297, in the Hertfordshire Pipe Rolls, 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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