This surname of ARLT was a nickname for a vagabond or rascal. The word also denoted an itinerant entertainer, and occasionally was applied to a male servant, so in some cases it may have been an occupational name. The name was also spelt ARLOT, ARLOTT, HARLEDGE and HARLOT. The name has also been connected to the name CHARLOTTE and ARLETTA. The earliest of the name on record appears to be John le HARLET, who was recorded in County Cambridge in the year 1273, and John HARLOT was documented in Cambridge during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377).
The name was written about in a poem by Chaucer (1340?-1400)
'He was a gentil harlot and a kind'.
Later instances of the name include Bartholomew ARLETT and Elizabeth Tellam, who were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1768, and Witham ARLOTT and Elizabeth Thorougood, were wed at the same church in the year 1785. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France.
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