This unusual and interesting surname, today popular in Bristol, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from an occupational name for a maker or seller of cloth and clothes, derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "cloth", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "clath", and the agent suffix "-(i)er". Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. A quotation from Piers Plowman reads "As clotheres kemben hir wolle". The surname was first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include: Richard le Clothmongere, recorded in the 1296 Cartulary of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire, and Thomas Clothman, recorded in the 1416 Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London; both of these surnames have the same meaning as Clothier. The modern surname can be found recorded as Clothier, Clother and Cloyther. Recorded in English Church Registers are the christening of Thomas, son of Thomas Clothier, on June 30th 1625 at Rugeley, Staffordshire, and the marriages of William Clothier and Elizabeth Griffin on October 23rd 1638 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, and of Mary Clothier and Thomas Jennings on February 2nd 1698 at Stone, Gloucestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Clother, which was dated 1286, in the "Middle English Surnames of Occupation of Norfolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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