This is an interesting surname with three possible origins, the first and most likely being occupational for a "house servant", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bir", cottage, chamber, or inner room, and "man", man. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. This name may also be topographical for a "dweller at the cottage", but because there were so many cottagers in a village it is highly unlikely that the surname developed from this source unless the cottage was particularly outstanding or of unusual structure. Finally, the name may be locational from any of the places called Bower(s) in Essex and Somerset, named from "bur", meaning cottage. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname was first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Cecilia del Boure, in the 1379 Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire, and William Bowerman, listed in the 1506 Oxford University Register. Recordings from London Church Registers include the marriage of Myllycente Bowerman and Robert Huddlestone on April 14th 1594, at St. Katherine by the Tower. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Burman, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "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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