Kett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The earliest origins of the Kett surname date from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name reveals that an early member was a person who had acquired the nickname of the kite, which was originally derived from the Old English word cyta, referring to the "kite" the bird of prey. [1] [2] In this case the original bearer of the surname earned this name due to their wild, and high-spirited nature.

Early Origins of the Kett family

The surname Kett was first found in Norfolk where Richard Kete was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1166. Years later, Richard Kyte was listed in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1243; William Ket in the Hundredorum Rolls for Norfolk in 1275; Peter le Kyte in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327; and John Kette in the Subsidy Rolls for Cumberland in 1327. Ralph atte Kete was found in the Pipe Rolls for Kent in 1292. [3]

In Yorkshire, Hugo Kyte was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [4] Again in Norfolk, but much later, John Kyte, was Rector of Wolferton in 1507. [5]

Early History of the Kett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kett research. Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1632, 1660, 1766, 1739, 1783, 1790, 1549, 1549, 1483, 1547, 1589, 1761, 1766, 1537, 1513, 1521, 1521, 1537 and 1537 are included under the topic Early Kett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kett Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Kett are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Kett include: Kyte, Kite, Keyt, Keyte, Kight, Kyteson and others.

Early Notables of the Kett family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Robert "Ben" Kett, an English yeoman farmer in Norfolk who joined rebels as their leader in what was later to be known as Kett's Rebellion on July 8th 1549; he was later tried for treason and hanged from the walls of Norwich Castle on 7 December 1549. He "was a member of an old Norman family...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Kett family to Ireland

Some of the Kett family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 165 words (12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kett migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Kett or a variant listed above:

Kett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Kett, who arrived in Virginia in 1665 [6]
  • Benjamin Kett, aged 19, who landed in Maryland in 1684 [6]
Kett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ferdinand Kett, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1874 [6]

Australia Kett migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Kett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

West Indies Kett migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [8]
Kett Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Robert Kett, (b. 1612), aged 22, British settler travelling from London, UK arriving in St Christopher (St. Kitts) on 5th January 1634 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kett (post 1700) +

  • Henry Kett (1761-1825), English clergyman, academic and writer
  • Ms. Julia Elizabeth Kett M.B.E., British recipient of the Member of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to British Nationals in France [9]
  • Tony Kett (1951-2009), Irish Fianna Fáil politician and member of Seanad Éireann
  • William Hedley Kett DSC and Bar (1913-2014), British submariner who commanded two ships during the Second World War


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/henry-tanner
  8. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  9. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists


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