The Bedfordshire village of Fancott, near Toddington, is almost certainly the origin of this slightly French looking surname.In fact it seems that in the 18th century an attempt was made to imply this origin when one Peter Fanaquet married Mary Grumley at St Georges Church, Mayfair, on November 25th of that year. This however is a lone recording, the others clearly point to the English origin. The village name probably translates as 'the place (cott) where 'fanning' is carried out' - 'fanning' being a form of winnowing to remove the wheat from the stalk. There are many spelling forms, ranging from Fancutt to Fancourt, an indication that in the 16th century the village was cleared, and the tenants forced off their land under the iniquitous Enclosure Acts. They then took,or were given, as their surnames, the name of their former village, but lack of spelling then lead to the variant sounds like forms being created. Examples of the recordings include Ralph Fancott, a witness at St Margarets Church, Westminster on February 2nd 1646, Margery Fancutt, who married Thomas Hyne at St Peters Church, Pauls Wharf, London, on July 13th 1654, and Robert Fancett, christened at St Giles Cripplegate, London, on June 14th 1801. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anthony Fancet, which was dated July 2nd 1586, a witness at St Annes Church, Blackfriars, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1604. 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.