Recorded as Chart, Charte, Charthe, Charts, Charter and Chartman, this is an English surname but of French origins. It is occupational and as such one of the most ancient, and describing a early transporter of goods. There are four original sources for the surname, all of which have played some part in the development since the time of the Romans. These are firstly the Roman-Latin word "carettarius", meaning a chariot driver, secondly the 10th century Norman French "caretier", surviving in modern French surnames as "cartier", thirdly the Norse-Viking "kartr", and finally from the Olde English "craet", both of which mean cart. All four of these sources have over the many centuries, been merged to form the modern surname of Carter. Early examples include such recordings as Nicholas le Carter, in the famous Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire for the year1273, and slightly later from the surviving early church registers: the christening of Edmond Carter, the son of James Carter, at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, city of London, on September 6th 1549, Elizabeth Chart, who was christened at St Dionis Backchurch, city of London, on October 13th 1594, and Elizabeth Charthe, christened at St Botolphs without Aldgate, on March 17th 1637. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rannulf le Caretier. This was dated 1192, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Huntingdonshire", during the reign of King Richard 1st of England and known as "Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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