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CHARITY Family History

There are many unusual surnames in the world, but 'Charity' is surely amongst the leaders. Its origins are Old French, the word as 'charitet' being introduced into England after the 1066 Norman Invasion. The meaning is far from clear, strictly speaking in medieval times a 'Charitet or Carite' was a hospice or refuge for the sick, and therefore the surname is probably locational for one who lived near such a place or it could be job descriptive for a charity worker or nurse. The locational origin must apply to Geofrey de la Carite in the 1185-87 Pipe Rolls of the county of Hampshire, but Turstan Charite in the 1195 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk is almost certainly a worker at a 'charity' or perhaps one who collected for charity.

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