Last name: Poulter

This interesting and unsual name is of Norman French origin, introduced into Britain after the Conquest of 1066. It is an occupational surname for a poultry dealer, or a breeder of chickens, derived from the Old French term "pouletier, poletier", a derivative of "poule", chicken, from the Latin "pulla", young bird. The development of the surname includes Osbert le Puleter (1230, Shropshire), and Gilbert Poleter (1234, Oxfordshire). A popular medieval test, "Cocke Lorelle's Bote", speaks of "drovers, cokes, and pulters". One William Poulter married Alice Belley in London in 1621, and a Thomas Poulter, at the age of thirty-one, was an early emigrant to the American colonies; he left London on the "David" in September 1635, bound for Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aunger le Poltur, which was dated 1222, The Surrey Curia Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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