Recorded as Churcher, Churches, Churchus, Churchouse and Curcher, this rare and interesting name is of medieval English and possibly Scottish origins, but ultimately French. It has two possible origins, both occupational. Firstly it may derive from the word "curch" believed to be Celtic but from the Fremnch word 'couvereches', and is recorded in Scotland in the year 1447. If so it described a kerchief, formerly worn instead of a cap or mutch, and a curcher would have been a maker or a wearer of distinctive headcoverings. Secondly and perhaps most likely, it was again occupational but this time for a churchwarden, or at least a person designated to look after the parish room. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary usually when a son followed the father into the same line of business. Early examples of recordings include Iuo de Cerchous in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Sssex in 1327, and William del Chyrechous of Staffordshire in 1332. Amongst the sample recordings in the surviving registers of Greater London is the christening of Garrard Churcher at the church of St Mary Somerset, on June 29th 1595, and Robarte Curcher who was christened on May 19th 1605, at St. Andrew's Enfield, in Middlesex. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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