This ancient and distinguished surname, with over fifty entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", and having no less than sixty Coats of Arms, is of Anglo-Scottish origins. It is either an occupational name for a fuller, or a locational name from a place called Walker in Northumberland. If occupational it derives from the pre 7th Century word "wealcere", and describes the work of the fuller to scour and thicken raw cloth in a large vessel containing a water mixture by trampling on it. Job descriptive surnames denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and became hereditary when a son followed the father into the same skill or business.If locational, Walker in Northumberland is recorded as Walkyr in the "Inquisitiones post mortem", dated 1268 from the Old Scandinavian word "kiarr", and means "The wall by the marsh". Early examples of recordings include Robert le Walker, in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire in 1260, whilst Sir Edward Walker (1612 - 1677), was the purchaser of Shakespeare's house at Stratford-on-Avon in 1675. Robert Walker (1789 - 1854) the curate of Seathwaite, Cumberland, was popularly known as "Wonderful Walker", and commemorated by Wordsworth. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Walkere. This was dated 1248, in "Select Documents of the Abbey of Bec", Warwickshire, during the reign of Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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