The surname of COLLETT was a baptismal name 'the son of Nicholas'. The name was derived from the Latin Colecta or Coleta, and this form lingered on until the 16th century. The name was originally brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion, and COLET (without surname) appears to be the first of the name on record in 1086 in County Essex. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday Book. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Other records of the name mention Robert Colet recorded in 1213, and Simon Colyte was documented in 1294. Johannes Colet who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll tax of 1379. John Colet (1467?-1516) dean of St. Paul's and founder of St. Paul's Schools, was probably born in the parish of St. Antholin, London, where his family resided. Collet Smyth, wife of Henry Smyth was buried before St. Catherine's image, Norwich in 1495. The name was popular among Christians throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, largely as a result of the fame of a 4th century Lycian bishop, about whom a large number of legends grew up, and who was venerated in the Orthodox Church as well as the Catholic. East European forms of this name are spelt with the initial M, as Mikulas in Poland. The name was sometimes borne by women in the Middle Ages.
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