Recorded in a number of spellings, this surname is English. It is locational from places called Eastcott in Middlesex and Wiltshire, or from Eastcotts in Bedfordshire, or Escot in the county of Devon. All have the same derivation from the pre 7th Century word "est" meaning east, plus "cot", a house or cottage with four acres of land. During the Middle Ages when it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birthplace to seek work further afield, the custom developed that they would adopt their original placename as an easy means of identification. Spelling being at best erratic, soon lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century, and is therefore one of the earliest on record, and forms of the surname include: Eastcourt, Eccott, Escot, Escott and Estcourt. Early examples of the surname recordings are those of Robert atte Estcote in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex for the year 1327, and somewhat later Thomas Eascott who married Joyce Rawson, on May 17th 1588 at the church of St. Lawrence Jewry in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Gundwinus de Estcota. This was dated 1190, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Bedfordshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax.