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Hunt Family History
This ancient surname is of pre 7th century English origins. It is usually an occupational surname for one who hunted wildlife for a living. In the Middle Ages the term "hunter" was an official title, and there were different categories from game hunters on foot to the mounted huntsmen, who pursued stags and wild boar. The penalty for hunting without permission in the royal parks, could be death. The word "Hunta" was sometimes used as a personal name. It appears in the placenames "Huntingdon" and "Huntingfield". These translate as "Hunta's Hill" and "the land of the Hunta people". Amongst the interesting surname recordings over the centuries, is that of Leonard Hunt, who was one of the earliest emigrants to the new Virginia colony...
Hunt (Variants: Hunte)
During the Middle Ages, the term was used for the hunting on horseback of game such as stags or wild boars and was a pursuit restricted to the ranks of the nobility. It was also signifying much humbler forms of pursuit such as bird catching and poaching for food.
Also an Old English personal name and to have evolved into the Middle Ages occasionally as a personal name.
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales includes and old poem about the name "With hunte and home, and houndes him beside."
In Irish, some cases of English origin, but more commonly thought to contain the element fiabhach ‘hunt’, for example Ó Fiaich (Fee) or Ó Fiachna (Fenton).
Possibly an Americanised spelling of German Hundt.
Early bearers of the surname include: Humphrey le Hunte, 1203 in Feet of Fines (Sussex); Ralph Hunte, 1219 in Assize Rolls (Yorks); William le Hunte, 1357 in Feet of Fines (Husborne Crawley, Beds); Alicia Hont, 1379 in Poll Tax (Broughton Gifford, Wilts); Richard Hunte, 1437 in Feet of Fines (Devon); John Hunt, 1516 in PROB 11 (Lyme, Dorset).
In 1891, the frequency in England and Wales was 42,979 and a further 111 in Scotland. In 1881, there were 1,503 occurrences in Gloucestershire with the surname being one of the most frequently occurring in Bristol district.
In 1881, the most common Hunt occupation in the UK was Agricultural Labourer. Agricultural Labourer, Farmer and Labourer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Hunt, with a less common occupation being Coal Miner.
The noted David Hunt (1934-1985) was a British ornithologist and birdwatcher. He was killed by a Bengal tiger whilst leading a bird watching tour in India and was the first European to suffer this fate in many decades.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Gloucestershire / Bristol
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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