This name OVIATT is of the baptismal group of surnames 'the son of Eve'. This originally rare medieval female given name (from the Hebrew Chava) is of uncertain origin, perhaps meaning 'serpent'. This was according to the Book of Genesis, the name of the first woman, and in some cases the name may have been acquired by someone (invariably a man) who had played the part in a drama dealing with the Creation. This name was particularly popular in York and Durham during the 11th century, although the name has now become widespread. Evota de Durham, 1273 appears to be the first of the name on record in County Durham. Evota de Bolthorp was recorded in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Evota Butty was listed in the same Tax. Joseph Evatt was buried at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1691. Arnold Evetts and Sarah Antrem were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1717. James Evett and Mary Humphreys were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1789. The name was taken early to Scotland by settlers, and the name there is territorial from the lands of Eviot in Angus. Alexander Oviot is mentioned in a mandate directed to the bishops of St. Andrews and Aberdeen in 1264. Richard Evett is on record in 1461 in Angus, and Margaret Eviot was married in Perth in 1562. The surname was not uncommon in Perth in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but appears to be quite extinct now in those areas. The name has many variant spellings which include OVETT, EVETTE, EVITT, EVETTS, EVYOT and EVIOT and OVIETT. Steve OVETT, born in 1955 is the English athlete, Gold medalist in the 800m at the 1980 Olympics. He also won a bronze in the 1500m (three times), at one mile (twice) and at two miles. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. 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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