The surname of VOUT is of German origin, a variant of the name Voight, meaning 'one who was the overseer or manager of a household, a steward. The name has many variant spellings which include VOUET, VAUTH, VOOGD, VAGD and VOOGT. The name was derived from the Middle German word VOGET (taken from the Latin Avogado, meaning to call up, to help) and the term originally described someone who appeared before a court on behalf of some other party who was not permitted to make a direct representation. This would more than likely have been some ecclesiastical body which was not supposed to have any dealings with the temporal authorities. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. A notable member of the name was Simon VOUET (1590-1649) the French painter, born in Paris. After 14 years in Italy, he returned to France, where his religious and allegorical paintings and decorations in the Baroque style became very popular. Another notable member of the name was Paulus VOET (1619-77) the Dutch jurist. He was Professor at Utrecht, and a great scholar. His two books, relevant in conflict of laws written in 1661 and 1666 are both still referred to in South Africa. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour. The Rose depicted in the arms is used as a distinction for the seventh son. The Distinction of Houses are used to distinguish the younger from the elder branches of a family, and to show from which line each is descended.
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