This is one of the famous English surnames that developed in the medieval period of history from about the 12th century. It is an occupational surname, 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 English surnames Carter and Charter. 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, and the marriage of Elsabethe Carter and William Evans, which took place at St. Margaret's church, Westminster, on July 17th 1553. Robert Carter was a passenger on the famous "Mayflower", the ship that carried the Pilgrim Fathers to Virginia in 1620, making him one of the first setttlers in the New World. 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. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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