Last name: Carpenter

This ancient and widespread name is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational name for a worker in wood, a "carpenter". The surname derives from the Anglo-Norman French term "carpentier", developed in England after the Conquest of 1066, and deriving from the Late Latin "carpentarius", cartwright, from "carpentum", cart, a word of Gaulish origin. This surname has the rare distinction of retaining its original spelling of the 12th Century into modern English, and is one of a select group of occupational surnames developed from essential and skilled employment during the Middle Ages; other examples are Smith, Farrar, Cartwright, Miller, Tanner, and Tiler. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Early recordings of the name include Ralph Carpenter (1175, Yorkshire), and Hugh le Charpenter (Wiltshire, 1273). William Carpenter, aged 19 yrs., was an early emigrant to the New World Colonies, leaving London on the "Expedition", bound for the Barbadoes in November 1635. One of the earliest Coats of Arms granted to a family of the name depicts two lions, gold, rampant combatant, on a blue shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwin Carpentar, which was dated 1121, in "Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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