This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and an occupational surname for a patcher, a cobbler, someone who repaired clothes, shoes, or household utensils. In some cases, the name may have arisen as a nickname for a wearer of much-mended clothes. The derivation is from the Olde English and Middle English "clut", patch, with the agent suffix "-er", indicating one who does or works with. A further possible derivation is from the Old French "cloutier", nail-smith, but this is unlikely to be the source for many modern namebearers. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the nameholder, and later became hereditary. Robert Clutere was listed in the "Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London" for 1301, and one Adam Clouter is listed in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1307. The surname is found particularly well recorded in Devonshire from the 16th Century on: Georg Clowter and Elizabeth Herris were married in Paignton on November 22nd 1579; John Clouter married Thomazen Voysee at St. Sidwell's, Exeter, on January 26th 1681; and the christening of Charles, son of William Clouter, was recorded in Bovey Tracey on February 13th 1684. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam le Clutere, which was dated 1286, in Fransson's "Middle English Surnames of Occupation", Norfolk, 1100 - 1350, 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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