This surname HEWITT was of English origin, derived from the Old English word 'hiewett' the dweller by the clearing. Local names usually denoted where a man held land. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. Early records mention Roger Huiett, who was recorded in Durham in 1085 and Robert Huet is documented in the year 1182 in Yorkshire and Devon. Thomas Huwet appears in the year 1327 in County Sussex. Roger Howatt of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Howitt was documented in 1447 in County Yorkshire. The name was taken to Ireland by settlers and Gaelicized as Huighead. The name is now familiar both to Munster and the city of Dublin. The arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name.
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