Last name: Rochester

This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the town in Kent called Rochester, or, in some few instances, from a much smaller place in Northumberland with the same name. The place in Kent is a very ancient settlement, recorded by the Venerable Bede in circa 730 in both its original British (pre - Roman) name of "Dorubrevi", composed of the elements "duro", fortress, and "briva", bridge, and in its Anglo-Saxon form of "Hrofaecasetre", composed of the Old English pre 7th Century "hrof", roof, with "caester", Roman fort. The place is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Rovecestre". Rochester in Northumberland is thought to have been named from the place in Kent, or the first element may be the Old English "hroc", rook. The modern surname from either of these sources can be found as Rochester, Rogister, and Rossiter. The marriage of Thomas Rochester and Elizabethe Starkey was recorded in St. Michael's, Cornhill, London, on May 27th 1549. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Turoldus de Rouecestra, which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book, (Essex), during the reign of King William 1, "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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