The surname of SKEAT was derived from the Old English word Skate - an ancient Lincolnshire personal name. The name was originally brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion as was spelt as SKJOTR. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Ricardus filius Schet who was listed as a tenant-in-chief in the Domesday Book of 1086. Nicholas Walter Sket was recorded in 1201 in County Norfolk. Almost every city, town or village extant in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. While a man lived in a town or village he would not be known by its name, as that would be no means of identification - all in the village would be so named. But when a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or by the name of the land which he owned. Some had the name of a manor or village because they were lords of that place and owned it, but the majority descend from vassals of freeman who once had lived there. Other records of the name mention Henry Skeath who was recorded in 1273 in County Yorkshire and Adam Skete of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edward Skete married Mary Lozeyer at St. Thomas the Apostle, London in 1631. Baptised Mary Skett, at St. Michael, Cornhill in London in the year 1743.
The name is also spelt Skeet and Skeate. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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