This interesting name has two possible origins, the first of which is an Anglo - Saxon locational surname from any of the places called 'Fleet' in Dorset, Hampshire, Kent and Lincolnshire. The places are variously recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Flete', 'Fletes', 'Fleot' and 'Flet', and all mean 'the stream, estuary or creek', derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century word 'Fleot'. In some cases the modern surname may be of topographical origin, denoting residence by a stream or creek. The second possible origin is from a medival nickname for a fast runner, from the Middle English 'Flete', Fleet, rapid. Sir John Fleet (deceased 1712) was sheriff of London in 1688 and Lord Mayor in 1692. He was appointed Governor of the East India company in 1695. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family depicts on a silver shield, two bars sable, on the upper one as many escallops, black, the Crest being a sinister arm,holding in the hand a club. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Flet, which was dated circa 1158, in the "Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses", Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.