Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Knott Name
Knott is an English surname of Germanic/Scandinavian origins which comes from one of three different sources. The first, and most likely source, comes from the Danish King Cnut, also known as Canute, who was King of England from 1016 until 1035; therefore, indicating the surname from this source survived the Norman invasion. The second source is topographical in origin deriving from the medieval English word “knot” which translates to mean a small hill. In this context, the name would have been used in reference to someone who lived on or near a hillock. The third source comes from the medieval English word “cnotta” which translates to knot fastening or knitting and would have been used as a nickname for a knitter, spinner, or weaver.
From the information above, it is easy to see that surnames were formed from a variety of sources., They put to use patriarchal or matriarchal names, reference to the individual’s occupation, some names derived from things such as defining physical traits, or familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived.
It should also be noted, while the surname Knott predates the Norman invasion, it is unique in nature as the use of surnames did not come into vogue in England until after the Norman invasion. Most residents in the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier eras across most of the British Isles, found little need for surnames as everyone within these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, the Norman aristocracy’s penchant for using surnames seemed to serve at least two practical purposes; it allowed for the distinguish of individuals who shared common given names, and it gave governments a reliable way to track people for immigration, tax and census purposes.
One of the earliest recordings of the surname, Walter Cnot, appears in the tax rolls of Suffolk dated 1165. These tax rolls hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. In medieval times, literacy was an attribute found primarily among the noble class, the clergy, and government officials, this meant most records were kept either by churches, priories, or government offices. Even so, often times there exists multiple variations in spelling of many surnames, offices. Even so, often times there exists multiple variations in spelling of many surnames, this is due to the fact, rules and guidelines for spelling were lax this resulted in, even those who were literate spelled many words phonetically. Unfortunately, what may have sounded one way to one person may have sounded different to another, resulting in a variety of spellings of this surname name; examples include but are not limited to; Knott; Knothe; Nott; Knaute; Knutsen; and Knutsson.
With the discovery of America and the addition of other countries to the British Commonwealth such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the use of surnames helped with the tracking of immigrants as well. One of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname was James Knott who arrived and settled in Virginia in 1617. Issac Knott was one of the early settlers to Canada, arriving in 1860 and settling in Newfoundland. John Knott was one of the early settlers to Australia, arriving in 1838 and settling in Glenelg Roads. John and Annie Knott and their children Walter and Harry were early settler to New Zealand, arriving and settling in Auckland in 1883.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Knott are found in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. State by state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Knott is in Kentucky and North Carolina.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Knott. Sir John Frederick Knott is a noted British research scientist who was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1990 and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1988. He was also awarded Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Knott Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Knott blazon are the chevron, crescent and unicorn. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, azure and guttee dor .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli . Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” .
The gutte or goutte is an elongated tear-drop shape with wavy sides and usually appears in large number spread evenly across the field. Some frequently do they occur that special names have arisen for the various colours, guttee d’or or gutte aure being or (gold) for who would not delight in a field strewn with drops of gold!
The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield , or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” , possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter . The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” .
In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The unicorn is an intresting example that is still part of our own mythology today. The unicorn as illustrated on even the most ancient coat of arms is still instantly recognisable to us today, and shares many of the same poses that both lions and horses can be found in. . Wade, the 18th century heraldic writer suggested that were adopted as symbols because of “its virtue, courage and strength”.