This name is of English locational origin from a place in Cumberland thus called. Recorded as Cletergh in 'The Register of the Priory of St. Bees', Cumberland, the name derives from the Olde Norse 'Klettr', a rock or cliff, plus 'erg', a hut or shieling (usually one used by a shepherd). The surname is particularly well recorded in Cumbrian Church Registers from the late 16th Century, (see below). On October 5th 1600 Ellin, daughter of Andrewe Cleator, was christened in Millom. The name appears as Clater, Clyter, Cletor, Cle(e)tor and Cleator in late 16th early 17th Century London records.Ann Cleator, daughter of John and Susan was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate on May 11th 1671. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mathewe Cleator, which was dated September 22nd 1591, christened at Millom, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess 1558 - 1603, Cumberland. 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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