This long-established surname is of early medieval Scottish origin, and is a territorial name either from the lands of Cults in Aberdeenshire (now part of the Grampian region), so called from the Gaelic "coillte", woods, with the latter addition of the English plural "-s"; from Cults, a parish South West of Cupar in mid Fifeshire; or from the lands of Couttie, which formerly belonged to the Abbey of Coupar-Angus, old spellings of which were Cowte and Cultby. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: John de Cowtis (Angus, 1392); William Coutts and his family who were established in the earldom of Mar, Aberdeenshire, by a Crown charter in 1433; Alexander Couts, noted in the Episcopal Register of Glasgow in 1483; and William Coutts, who became provost of the town of Montrose at the close of the 16th Century. On February 22nd 1736, Jane Couttes and John Mure were married at St. Mildred Poultry, London, and on July 5th 1812, Charles Frederick, son of John Couttes, was christened at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with a stag's head couped red, in chief a pheon azure, all within a bordure embattled of the last. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Cotis, which was dated 1343, in the "Episcopal Register of Moray", Scotland, during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1329 - 1371. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.