The Eacott Name

Like other names the Eacott name evolved over hundreds of years. The earliest record of the name is in the form of EYCOT. Eycot was an ancient manor along the river Churn in the county of Gloucester, England. It was recorded in the great census ordered by William the Conqueror in 1086 AD. The name was then recorded as Aicote. There were no persons of that name recorded at that time. In a manuscript of Worcester ( Hemming's Cartulary ) from the late 11th century the name of the manor is recorded as EUGKOTE. The name was given to an area granted in a Saxon charter from the late 800's early 900's.

Before the 12th century it was not common for people to use surnames. When in the 12th C. last names became popular because of French influence, they were names which indicated a place, or an occupation or a physical description or relationship. Just under half of all English surnames are named for a place. This seems to be the case for the Eacott name.

At the time of the Domesday record the area where the Eacotts lived had been influenced for over 400 years by Saxons who became to be known as Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo-Saxon language became the basis for Old English. This language had connections to Denmark and adjacent Germany as well as to the Norse languages.

If the name is Old English, which seems likely, the meaning can be made reasonably clear. "Cott or Cote" means a small hut or habitation, or a shelter for sheep or birds as in dovecote. The Indo European root is "ku" from which coop, cubby are derived also. In the Cotswold area a cot, specifically, was a stone sheep shelter.

In feudal times the squire of a knight would be provided a cot and some land which he held by right of cottage or tenement.

"EY" can mean several things.
It can mean " ever " as in "for aye"
It can mean " egg " as in birds egg
It can refer to water in several ways; running water, an island, or marshland. The most common Saxon use was for an Island.

Thus the following meanings are possible:
" One who always lives in a small house"
" One who lives at the egg house or hen house"
" One who lives in a house by the stream, or by or on an
island or marshland"

It seems very probable that the last meaning is the most likely because the manor house at Eycot was located on the west bank of the Churn R. and there are old reports of there having been an island and a marshy area nearby.
However, the word EYOT if related refers to the raising of nestling falcons placing the name in association with that occupation.

Eldon Smith in " New Dictionary of American Family Names" 1973 says that Eacott Means " Dweller in a cottage by the river" Old records show EA and EY interchangeable in the name. This was possible in Old English because EA, EY, and EG all refer to water in some manner and the use does not change
the meaning.

Barber in " British Family Names", 1903, says Eacott is derived from the Anglo-Saxon - Echeard; Danish - Ecert or Eigaard; German - Eckardt; Flemish - Eekhout; or from one of several Norse names beginning "EY"

Another possible origin comes from the name of a Frenchman who was awarded the lordship of Duntisbourne Abbot and who leased from Hugh Donkey the manor of Bagendon. His name was Gilbert de Eskecote. There were later, persons from that area with the name Estcourt. It is not known if Gilbert ever lived in the area of Bagendon. However the name is similar enough to offer some confusion especially if some of his locally born offspring took a version of his name and modified it. Yet, it must be remembered that Eycote already existed as a place nearby and had been since the 900's. Eycot was also known or sounded as Eugkote about 1086 so precision cannot be exact.

The name prior to 1400 in the few references known noted an individual as being so and so "de Eycote" or " of Eycote". From the 1500's a few EA names existed derived from EY, EC and EK versions. The EA form was not popular and in Bagendon and Cirencester did not ever exist. Ea versions occurred in North
Cerney, Rendcomb, and areas adjacent to the north.

Up until 1750 the vast majority,( over 80%) of recorded names were Eycott. From 1750 there is a mixed transition with increasing use of Ecott and Eacott. At that time the Eacott version was becoming the most common one in Wiltshire. After 1800 the Ey version is scarce everywhere and virtually vanishes by 1830 with Eacott being the more common version.

Local Variants
The EA version, found also as ECott in the Cromhall-Alveston, was common in Purton-Swindon and Warminster areas of Wiltshire. By the time of the 18th century census a pattern existed in a belt from London to Bristol with versions of the name concentrated mostly in specific locals. Eacott was the most widely dispersed yet still mostly in Avon, Wiltshire, Berkshire and London. Eakets were in Gloucester. Ecott in Bedfordshire and Gloucester. Ayott in London and Bedford. Eycott London Berkshire and Yorkshire. Eckett only in London, Reading, Basing towns. Acott in London Kent, Gloucester and Oxford. Eccott in London and Basingstoke. These variations on the name account for nearly all people with an Eacott variation.

Other Variants
Up to 1800 language was quite flexible. As a result most names were recorded quite as they were said in the local dialect. Records show the same family with members whose names were spelled variously. The files of the Church of Latter Day Saints relate Eacott to Eycott, Aycott, Acott, Eckott, Eckett, Ecott. Eakets, Eccott. Sometimes with only one "t" in a variation. A few others Eacoote, and the very early Eycote are no longer found. Haycott, Hickett, Icott, Eyecott are in the LDS files as a variant. However in the 1881 census of the UK there were 5 male Hicketts of 23 in Worcester, York and M.iddlesex. Those in USA were not counted. There were 2 Eyecott female servants in Middlesex, 2 male Haycotts Kent and Sussex. No Eccot and no Icott were found. Whether these are variants is not proven. Some names that might look like a variant have no evidence that they are. Estcourt, Eastcott, Escott, Earthcott, Elyot, Amscott, are some of these. Some names occur outside Britain, in Europe, Americas, Australasia that are similar but not linked. Eekhout, Ekert, Eacherd, Ekardt, Ecert are examples of these names which might sound similar but are not the same family except where there has been, if any, an isolated spelling error.

Record Transitions
Church records seldom go back before 1538 when it was ordered that parish records of births, baptisms, marriages and deaths be kept. Many of the previous records were destroyed with Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries at the same time. From that time there were parish records and a local bishops record. They were sometimes at variance. These rather early references respecting North Cerney from the parish register exemplify.

Dec. 4 1661 Elizabeth wife of Richard Eacott Sr. buried ... only Richard Ecott appears in other records.
Feb 22 1664 Richard sone of Richard Eacott Sr. Baptized
Dec 24 1676 Jonathan son of Joseph Eacott baptized
1682 Joseph Eycot is buried and for some years there are no more Eacotts only EC and EY

The bishops register shows this entry:
Dec 24 1676 Jonathon son of Joseph Ecot baptized

How to say it !
The pronunciation of the name had importance in the spelling. An Old English grammar book says "EA" is a diphthong vowel, that is a vowel where each of the two letters is said. The letter E was pronounced as in "NET" while the A got less emphasis. To find the relationship with EY use the Y sound from "Yes or young" and the EA and EY are difficult to distinguish Egg also comes from the EY sound. Thus the first
sound in the name in ancient times was more like "EHy" or"EHa" with the last letter being made soft. The original pronunciation may have been more like "EHcott" or "AYHcott.

The 11th century word EUGKOTE might be a close sound variation. In more recent memory the name in Alveston ( near Bristol) was said as AYE cott, and is recalled by the local place name in North Cerney as "Ache-it" ( as in tooth ache) remembrance in the first settlement area in Ontario was also this. . Most current users seem to prefer EEcott or EHcott.

In the Saxon times the alphabet used was the runic alphabet with 29 letters. The 28th letter was EA with an accent over the E. It was written as a W with a line down from the mid centre point, resembling a Neptune's spear.

The EY version of the name existed continually until the mid 1700's in the Churn valley and in scattered places but since then seems to a have died out nearly everywhere. Other versions of the name are rare before 1700.

The "cott" Suffix
Another element that may have some significance about the name is the observation of the suffix "COTT". An examination of this in British place names shows that the "COTT" ending existed in a very specific band extending in an arc south and east of the Bristol Channel from north Devon, Somerset, Gloucester to Oxford, inland from the sea. From Bude in the west, north of Exeter and along the A30 are such places as Eastcott, Natcott, Elmscott, Brazacott, Patchacott, Southcott, Tetcott, Luffincott, Kellacott, Upcott, Middlecott, Northcott, Bennacott, Accott, Hiscott, Uppincott, Beccott, Knightacott, Golsoncott. Outside that belt there are very few Cott or Cote names of communities.

Then in Somerset more scattered: Cattacott, Draycott, Carlingcott,Nightcott, Woolcott, Ashcott. Then from Bristol into Gloucestershire: Earthcott, Eycott, Horcott, Buscot, Calcot, Murcot, Earlingscott ending in a line from Warwick to Oxford. In this north area "COTE" endings are also more common. The area is known as the Cotswold includes many of the "Cott" places.

What, if any meaning can be taken from this observation remains to be seen. It may or may not conform to an ancient area that gave reason to apply this suffix in this area. This could be a clue as to the
linguistic origin of the name. No old records of Eacott or Eycott exist from the Devon and Somerset area.

The pre Roman language in the entire area was Brythonic, a Celtic based language related to Welsh and Cornish. There appears, so far, to be no indication that Eycote had linguistic connections with this language.

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Old Churches of
S.E. Gloucester 
However the name is said, there are not a lot of  Eacotts, but they are a diverse lot and spread across several continents.   Want to see something of the diversity in the world today? 
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      "Eacott"     "Eycott"        "Ecott"        "Acott"       "Eckett"         "Eccott"