This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and may be either of topographical origin from residence in a cottage to the north of a main settlement, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "north", north, with "cot", cottage, shelter, or a locational name from any of the various places named with the above elements. These places include Northcott in the Tiverton district of Devonshire, and Norcott in Gloucestershire and Hertfordshire. An old-established Devonshire family of the name trace their descent from Galfridus Miles, who lived in the manor of Northcote in that county, circa 1103. They were granted the earldom of Iddesleigh in 1885. Early examples of the surname include: William de Nordcote (Gloucestershire, 1205); Amyas de Northcote (Lincolnshire, 1273); and John atte Northcote (Sussex, 1296). In the modern idiom the surname has eight spelling variations: Northcote, Northcott, Norcot(t), Norkett, Norkut(t) and Notcutt. On April 3rd 1594, Agnes Norkett and William Abrahall were married at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family in 1671 is a gold shield, with a pale bendy of six silver and azure, the Crest being a demi unicorn rampant erased silver, armed and maned gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas de Northicote, which was dated 1199, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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.