This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval English and French origin, and is an occupational surname for a judge, or sometimes for a servant employed at the court or residence of a lord, a manor house or castle. The derivation is from the Old French word "courtier", an agent derivative of "court(e), cort" in Old French and Middle English, meaning court, derived from the Latin "cohors", yard, enclosure. The Old French word "court" came to be used of a court of law, since the lord of the manor dispensed local justice. Later he was assisted by advisers, and gradually delegated more and more of the duties of the "court" of law to them; hence, the use of the term "courtier" to mean judge. A courtier in the sense of one who attended the royal court is very unlikely to be a source for the modern surname, since courtiers were usually of at least knightly class and had their own distinctive names. John Courtier was christened in London in May 1683. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas le Curter, which was dated 1279, in the "Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls", 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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