This interesting surname may be of either early medieval English or Scottish origin, and is a locational name from Calder in Cumberland, or from any of the various places in Scotland called Calder or Cawdor. The Cumbrian place, recorded as "Calder" in the 1179 Pipe Rolls of that county, and as "Kildre" in 1231, derives its name from the river on which it stands. This is probably an ancient British (pre-Roman) name from ancestors of the Welsh "caked", hard, harsh, violent, with "dwfr", water, stream. Calder in Thurso, Caithness, is recorded in the early 13th Century in the form "Kalfadal", and gets its name from the Old Norse "kalf", calf, with "dair", valley. The others seem to derive from river names, perhaps identical to the Cumbrian river name (above); however, the Old Norse "kaldr", cold, may also be the source, or the Gaelic "call", hazel, with "dobhar", water. Early examples of the surname include: Adam de Calder (Cumberland, 1179); Donal of Calder (Dunmanglas, Inverness, 1419); and John Calder, noted in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, dated 1589. James Tait Calder, author, wrote a meritorious "History of Caithness" in 1861, and Sir Robert Calder, who fought at the Battle of St. Vincent, was knighted in 1797; he was created baronet in 1798, and made admiral in 1810. A Coat of Arms granted to the Calder family is a gold shield, a buck's head erased attired with ten black tynes, within four stars and as many crescents alternately disposed orleways azure. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Kaledouer, charter witness, which was dated 1178, in the "Register of Arbroath Abbey", Forfarshire, Scotland, during the reign of King William, known as "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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