The surname of FLITT was a locational name 'of Flitton' a spot in County Bedfordshire. The name was derived from the Old English 'fleot' the dweller near a stream. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land. The name is also spelt FLITTE, FLETT and FLETTE. Early records of the name mention Flictham (without surname) listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name was spelt as Fletwyk in 1242 and Flitten in the year 1276. It was also a Scottish habitation name, originally in the Orkneys, from a place FLETT in the parish of Delting, so called from the Old Norman term denoting a strip of arable land or pasture. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village early times, has served to name many families. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. Kolbein Flaet was one who laid charges on a man in 1427, and Mawnus Flet was a witness in Kirkvill in 1448. John Fleytt of Hare was a member of an assize in Orkney in 1509. Sir John S. Flett, Director of the Geological Survery is probably the most distinguished of the name in record.
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