Last name: Baxter
This unusual surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is an occupational name from the Middle English term "bakester", originally given to a woman that baked. It is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "baecestre" meaning a female baker. In Middle English the ending "estre", being unstressed, soon lost its final "e", and "ster" came to be regarded as an emphatic form of "er", and consequently was applied to men as well as to women, so that the early Middle English "bakstere" became later Middle English masculine "baxter". Baxter is found to be widespread in the Anglian counties and also in Angus. The surname dates back to the late 11th Century (see below), and variations in the spelling of the surname include Bakster, Baxstar, Baxstair, Baxstare and Baxster. Church Records list the marriage of Patrick Baxter to Violet Kerr on June 3rd 1606 in Edinburgh, and the christening of George, son of John Baxter, on September 6th 1635 at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. A Coat of Arms granted to a Baxter family in Northumberland is red on a silver bend four green eagles displayed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Liueger se Bacestere, which was dated 1093, in the "Olde English Bynames of Devonshire", during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus", 1087 - 1100. 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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this was very interesting and helpful to me.
Ed @ Lexicolatry.com
I've just written a post on my blog about the word 'baxter'. Very interesting indeed; I'm going to link you : o )