The origins of the name

The name FOSKETT, and its modern-day derivatives FOSKITT, FASKETT, FORSCUTT and FOSGATE are derived from the place name FOXCOTE, FOXCOTT or FOSCOTE.  It appears in very few "dictionaries of surnames" although those which mention the name appear to believe that it means a fox-infested cottage.

There are several places in England with the name and some date back to the Domesday Book of 1086.  Others appear later, but the earliest mention yet discovered is from the 10th Century with the name of FOSCOTE near Grittleton in Wiltshire.  This place was called Foxcotone in the year 940 AD.

Domesday Book Entries 1086:

  • Fulsecote, Hampshire (Now Foxcot near Andover)
  • Follescote, Berkshire
  • Fuscote, Somerset (Forscote)
  • Foxescote, Buckinghamshire (Foscot)
  • Foxcote, Oxfordshire
  • Fuscote, Gloucestershire (Foxcote)

Other places: (with earliest known reference)

  • 1197  Foscote, Abthorpe, Northamptonshire
  • 1316  Foxcote, Ilmington, Warwickshire
  • 1316  Foxcote, Kinlet, Shropshire

    Whether the family took their name from one or all of the above places or whether some of the places took their name from the family is open to question.  However in at least one instance there is evidence to support the latter.  The earliest family of the name of FOXCOT is from Hampshire where the place is a tiny hamlet close to the market town of Andover.  It would seem strange and more than a coincidence that FOXCOTE in Gloucestershire is adjacent to a village called Andoversford.

    The pre-Domesday mention of the name could indicate that the name is Saxon in origin and it is probable (although by no means certain) that the original families were Saxon and not Norman.  However the name could pre-date Saxon times because some of the Foxcote villages lie close to the Fosse Way, an ancient Roman road which crosses England from the south-west to Lincolnshire.  Even the Hampshire Foxcot, which does not fall into the pattern, lies directly on another Roman road called the Portway.  The word Fosse was used to describe a ditch lying alongside the Roman road.

    Some correspondents have suggested that the name is of French origin, based on two items of very flimsy evidence.  One is a letter, written in about 1911, to an American from an English correspondent who suggests the name is French.  The letter quotes no sources and is riddled with inconsistencies which would indicate that that this ninety year old “genealogist” had not researched the name or origins systematically, quoting two events 200 years apart as if they were closely linked.  This letter can be seen here.  The second item is the claim by the wealthy family of Foskett’s in the 19th century, that their Foskett ancestors were Huguenot and had escaped the persecution in France in the late 17th century.  No evidence has been found that this is a fact and it is suspected that the story was used to hide the humble beginnings of the family concerned.

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