Last name: Scathard

This very interesting surname generally recorded as Scatchard, Scathard, Scatcherd, and Scatcher, is probably of Norman French origins. It derives from the word "escache", meaning a stilt, and was therefore either job-descriptive for a maker of such items or for one who used them in the course of his work. Originally the name was generally recorded in those counties where the use of stilts were required, particularly Lincolnshire and the fen country, however the later spread suggests that either the use of stilts was more wide-spread than was previously thought, or the name developed a different connotation. It is probable that in the late middle ages the name may have assumed a nickname meaning, and as such became attributable to a person who was very tall or who had particularly long legs! Nickname surnames were very popular in that period of robust or Chaucerian humour, and it is often difficult to distinguish between a name given for an occupation, or one given for characteristics, such as physical attributes or supposed resemblance to (say) an animal or bird. Among the early recordings are those of Thomas Scotchard of Kent in 1336, and John Scacharde and William Skacharde both of the city of Stafford, in the year 1381. Later recordings include the christenings of Anne Scotcher on December 19th 1541 at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London, and on July 12 1753, that of James Finch and Esther Sctachard at St Dionis Backchurch, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Skacher, which was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Suffolk, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The Father of the Navy', 1327-1377. 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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