This interesting and unusual medieval English name is a dialectal variant of a metonymic occupational name, Colt, given to someone who looked after asses or horses. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "Colt", meaning a young ass, later also a young horse. In Northern England "Colt" was the generic word for working horses or asses. However it is also possible that this could be a nickname surname for a lively, frisky, person. In the modern idiom, the spelling variants include Colter, Coltman, and the later Coldman, a late southern dialectal spelling. Examples of namebearers include Anselm Colt in 1020 a.d, Henry Le Colt in the Stafford Assize Rolls of 1227, Robert Le Coltier of Oxford in 1285, Peter Colthird of York in 1301 and Anote Coltman in the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland for 1332. The recording as Coldman is apparently 19th century, an example being Michael Coldman, recorded at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, on July 28th 1833, in the reign of King William 1V (1830 - 1837). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godric Colt, which was dated 1017, in the "Old English Bynames", during the reign of King Canute 1016 - 1035. 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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