Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English surname. It has tow possible origins. The first is from the pre 7th century "eauld" meaning old, and "cot", a shelter or cottage; hence, the dweller in an old cottage. Secondly it may be a variant of Alcock, coming from a diminutive of various male personal names beginning with "Al", such as Alan, Albert and Alexander, with the popular medieval suffix "-cock", used here as a nickname from the bird. The application of the nickname could be for various reasons, it was often used for a young lad who strutted proudly like a cock, and soon became a generic name for young men. It may also have applied to a natural leader, or an early riser, or even a lusty or aggressive individual. The recording of John Alkot in the Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire, dated 1290, may have been a misreading of Alkoc. In the modern idiom the name is found as Alcott, Allcott, Allcoat, Aucott, Aucutt, Elcoat, Elcott, and others. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip de Allecote, which was dated 1255, in the "Hundred Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.