Upcott

Upcott - what does Upcott surname mean?

This name is of English locational origin from one of the four villages so named, all in the county of Devonshire. These `Upcott`s` are to be found in the parishes of Culmstock, Dowland, North Mol;ton and Rockbeare, and all have the same meaning. This is literally `the cottage up (the hill)` and referred originally to a single house or cottage set apart from the rest. Quite why this description only exists in Devon is unclear, but may relate to the hilly nature of much of the land, which prevented houses being built in the usual groups or terraces, the normal practice which provided both warmth and protection against the elements. Curiously the first recordings indicate that the nameholders were people of some standing, indeed unless they were `freeholders`, they would not have been recorded. This belies the idea of the simple cottage and strongly suggests that the original `Upcotts` were built for status and privacy, away from the common lands and peasantry. Early examples of the name recording taken from the surviving registers of the period include Joel de Uppecote of Devon in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, and John Upcott, also of Devon, who in 1609 was recorded as being a student at Oxford University. Robert de Uppecote, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Devon, in the reign of King Edward 1st, known as `The hammer of the Scots`, 1272 - 1307.

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