This interesting surname, with variant spellings Ble(a)cher and Bletcher, derives from the old English pre 7th Century "Blac" or "Bloec", meaning white, from "Bloccan", to bleach, with the addition of the agent suffix "er(e)" i.e., one who does, and was originally given as an occupational name to someone who was responsible for bleaching newly woven cloth. The surname first appears on record at the beginning of the 14th Century, (see below). One, Roger le Blakkere appears in the Parliamentary Writs of Wiltshire, dated 1313, and a Robert le Blechere in "Records of Hampshire", dated 1327. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include the marriage of Richard Bletcher to Margett Edwarde in St. Mary le Bow on November 18th 1565; the marriage of Sara Blatcher and Pawle Gyllat in Saint Gregory by St. Paul on May 20th 1573 and the christening of Johane, daughter of Samuell Blecher in the above church on September 29th 1588. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Blacchere, which was dated 1305, "Middle English Surnames of Occupations", by G. Fransson, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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