Recorded as Baxter but occasionally as Blaxter or Blackster, this famous surname is both English and Scottish, but its roots however lie in the Olde English pre 7th century word "baecestre". It is cognate with the surname Baker, which originally described a male baker or baecere, whilst Baxter or baecestre was a female baker. However in medieval times from about the 12th century the sufix ending -estre, lost its final 'e', and the surviving name came to be applied to both men and women. The spelling as Baxter became almost as popular as Baker, is now widespread throughout the British Isles, but originally, it is claimed, was most particular to the East Anglian counties of England, and to the county of Angus in Scotland.Why this should have been so, is unclear. The surname dates back to the late 11th century (see below), making it one of the very earliest to be recorded, and modern forms of the spelling include Bakster, Baxstar, Baxstair, Baxstare and Baxster. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church registers list the marriage of Patrick Baxter to Violet Kerr on June 3rd 1606 in Edinburgh, the christening of George, son of John Baxter, on September 6th 1635 at St. Giles Cripplegate, and that of Henry Blaxter, the son of William Blaxter, christened at St Johns Hackney, both the latter being in the registers of the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Liueger se Bacestere. This was dated 1093, in the lists known as the "Olde English Bynames of Devonshire", during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus", 1087 - 1100. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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