Recorded in various spellings including Ceater, Cheater, Cheeter, Chitter, and others, this is an English surname, but one of medieval French origins. It is occupational and would seem to describe an early accountant or possibly a court bailiff, one whose job it was to track down 'eschetours.' These were people who for one reason or another were evading paying taxes and fines, and in consequence were pursued by 'chetours'. In a way this surname is similar to that of Farmer. Originally farmers were not people who worked the land, but who on behalf of the local lord, selected other people to 'farm'. The surname is very early with John Chetour being recorded in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Suffolk in 1327. Later examples from the surviving church registers of the city of London include Theopholus Cheter at St Benets church, Pauls Wharf, on August 1st 1660, and Thomas Chitter who married Mary Smithsend at Lincolns Inn Chapel on December 16th 1732.
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