The Howcutt & Howcott name
About 126 Howcutts were living in England, Wales and Scotland in 2015. They all owe their surname to one or another of:
Mark and Charles both grew up at Brixworth, Northamptonshire and left there as young men. Frederick William's grandfather came from Brixworth to London, probably in the 1820s.
The branches of the Howcutt family that originated from places other than Brixworth have all either died out in England or do not spell their name as Howcutt any more - those families were to be found at places including Coventry, Lichfield and Birmingham.
Until the 20th century, a large proportion of children died in infancy. Only two of the nine brothers and sisters of William Howcutt (1726-1782) of Brixworth survived to get married; if he also had died young there would be nobody called Howcutt living in Britain today.
The origin of the Howcutt & Howcott surname is not clear. The main possibilities are that it evolved from the surname Harcourt (which can be found in the latter part of the Middle Ages in south Leicestershire where Howcutts later emerged) or, alternatively, from a place name such as:
Where the family moved
The earliest reference to a family whose name was later standardised as Howcott or Howcutt is in 1474 at Coventry. At first, Hulcot and similar spellings were used there but by the late 1500s Howcott was the version generally used in that city.
Claybrooke and Husbands Bosworth
The 1524 lay subsidy taxation lists are valuable records of individuals as this tax was levied on an assessment of wages as well as on property and so covers a substantial proportion of the adults who were living at that time. Amongst the are two men who lived in south Leicestershire, either or both of whom may be forebears of later generations of the Howcott/Howcutt family:
Bitteswell & Shearsby
The earliest record of the Howcott family at Bitteswell, Leicestershire is of a baptism in 1568. There is strong circumstantial evidence that the Howcotts who lived nearby at Shearsby during the 17th century were descended from the Bitteswell branch.
Some of the Howcotts recorded in London during the 17th and early 18th century were definitely from Coventry, Bitteswell or Shearsby, others being of uncertain origin.
Lichfield, Birmingham & North Carolina
A Howcott family is recorded at Lichfield, Staffordshire from the early 1670s and remained there until 1729. Edward Howcott (c1645-1729) of Lichfield was a freeman of Coventry and so had presumably come from that city. It is probable that he was an ancestor of the Howcutts who lived at Birmingham from the early 18th century until 1878. There is strong circumstantial evidence that the brothers John and Edward Howcott who arrived at Edenton, North Carolina around 1700 were sons of Edward of Lichfield.
James Howcutt, who arrived at Brixworth, Northamptonshire by 1721, had been christened at Shearsby in 1698.
The Nineteenth Century
During the period starting around 1800, a number of Brixworth Howcutts moved the 70 miles south to London on a temporary or permanent basis. Also in the early 19th century, descendants of the Bitteswell branch established themselves in Leicester.
Migration continued at a greater pace during the course of the 19th century, helped by the growing railway system. Army service took some men as far afield as Jamaica and India. The furthest permanent moves were:
· James Howcutt - Brixworth to Tasmania, 1827
· John Howcutt (of Scotland) - Liverpool to New York, 1835
· Sarah Ann Howcutt - Brixworth to Australia, 1882
The Twentieth Century
During the past hundred years, people moved home more often and over longer distances. New clusters of Howcutts formed at Lambeth, Wiltshire, Bradford and Paisley.
In 1900, the last Howcutt at Brixworth died as did the final descendant of the Bitteswell branch with the Howcutt surname. Since then very few Howcutts have lived in the original heartland of Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire - and then only for a few years.
Between 1474 and 1511, records at Coventry mention the surname Hulcot or Holcot(e). These are probably versions of the name Howcott that is found there from 1578 onwards.
The Howcott spelling is first found at Bitteswell in 1572, though Howcote was more usual there until after 1600. During the 17th century, spelling there gravitated to Howcott before settling as Howcutt during the 18th century. At Shearsby, a similar pattern is found with Howcutt first appearing in 1698.
Before the 1700s, spellings were not standardised, even amongst people who could read and write. In 1627, “Robert Howcotte” provided the earliest signature of a family member. However, the same person wrote his surname as Holcott when making his will in 1655.
The next known autograph is by “John Howcott” of the parish of St Sepulchre, London, who signed his will in 1659. “William Howcott” used the same spelling when he signed the parish register and wrote out the bishops transcripts for 1673 at Shearsby.
There were very few occasions before 1700 in which the “-cutt” or “cut” ending to the surname has been found:
After the family reached Brixworth in 1720, they lived only a few miles from the village of Holcot.  Spellings of the surname in the Brixworth parish records during the 18th century often started with "Hol-" or "Hal-", but none of the documents with those spellings contain signatures of members of the family, at least some of whom were illiterate until the latter part of the 18th century.
By 1800, the surname was normally spelled Howcutt in England and has remained so ever since. The only Howcott entries to be found in the births, marriages and deaths registered in England and Wales from 1837 onwards record people whose surnames were usually spelled as Howcutt, apart from one American Howcott who was born in England.
William Howcott was a churchwarden and the parish register of Shearsby in 1673. An example of his handwriting appears below:
It is probable that all the Howcotts currently living in the USA have received their surname through one of two brothers, John & Edward Howcott, who arrived in the area of Edenton, North Carolina around 1700.
Fewer than 100 Howcotts currently live in the USA. Most if not all are descendants of one of the following people:
· Nathaniel Howcott of Chowan county, North Carolina (died 1820)
· Miles Howcott (c1830-1905)
· Benjamin Howcott (c1850-1890).
Miles and Benjamin both lived at or near Plymouth, North Carolina and were released from slavery at the time of the American Civil War.
A much larger number of Americans bear other surnames that are or may be variations of Howcott. At 28 February 2014, the numbers of entries in the US Social Security Death Index  for Howcott and similar surnames were:
Other surnames that may be linked
Hawcutt, Orcott, Orcutt, Aucott &/or Aucutt.
Howcutt as a forename
The earliest record found of Howcutt or Howcott being used as a christian name was written in 1726, when Raphael Howcott of Coventry made his will and remembered a relation who was called Howcott Longworth.
The births, marriages and deaths that were registered in England and Wales from July 1837 to 2005 include the following entries where Howcutt was one of a person's forenames. The month under the heading "Quarter" is the final month of the 3-month period during which the event was registered, except for the death in 1988, which shows the actual month of registration.
"The Cork Examiner", 6 June 1863, records the marriage at Cloyne Cathedral, Ireland on 4 June 1863 of W. Howcutt Perkins, Esq., of Westfield House, Arnesby, Leicestershire to Caroline Jane, daughter of John Wilkinson, Esq., of Barnabrow.
Howcutt Lionel Bent Burdett, son of Thomas and Eliza Burdett, of 41, Windermere St., Leicester; husband of Annie Elizabeth Burdett, of 10 West Bridge, Leicester died on 1 August 1917 and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial, panel 19-22.
Howcutt in fiction
Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879) is probably best known as the author of the devotional hymn “Take my life and let it be”. Another of her works was a book titled “Bruey; a little worker for Christ” in which the heroine obtained contributions towards missionary work in Ireland from characters including “Mr Howcutt”, a fictitious butcher, and his wife. 
The equally fictitious “Lady Elspeth Howcott” is mentioned in an erotic novel. 
 The National Archives (TNA): E179/133/122.
 TNA: E179/133/109.
 TNA: E179/251/8.
 From the 16th century onwards, various Northamptonshire parish registers and wills refer to individuals with the surname “Holcott” and close variations. The earliest is the will of Robert Holcott of Oxendon, which was proved at Northampton Archdeaconry Court in 1513. Other places in the county with such references in the 16th century are Barnwell, Blatherwycke, Braybrooke, Fotheringhay, Hanging Houghton, Stanion and Stoke Albany. Because some of these are within a few miles of the village called Holcot, the Holcott surname is more likely to have been derived directly from that place name than from the Howcott surname which was then focussed on Coventry and south Leicestershire.
 Family Search – United States Social Security Death Index (consulted 23 July 2016).
 “Bruey: A Little Worker for Christ” (London, 1873), pages 229-232.
 “The Intimate Memoir of Dame Jennie Everleigh” by Anonymous (Bill Adler 2004), page 41.