Recorded in various spellings including Crowder, Crowther, Crowter, Crother and Crewther, this an English medieval surname. It is occupational and derives from the pre 7th century Olde English and Welsh crwth, meaning a 'crowd'. This was not however a collection of people gathered together, but an early and popular bowed stringed instrument, bearing some resemblance to the later fiddle or even a violin. A quotation from St Luke XV. 25. reads, "But his eldre sone was in the feeld, and whanne he cam and neighede to the hous he herde a synfonye and a crowde". A further reference to the instrument appears in Spencer's Fairy Queen, which refers to "the pipe, the tabor, and the trembling crowd". Much associated with Northern England and particularly the county of Yorkshire, the surname was first recorded in the late 13th century. Early recordings include examples such as Hugo le Crouder of Leicestershire, in 1278; Kenwick le Cruther of Cheshire, in 1289; and Katerina Crowder, recorded in the Poll Tax returns of Yorkshire in 1379. Hugh Crowder, who embarked from London on the ship "Bona Nova" in 1619, was recorded in a muster of the inhabitants of James City, Virginia, in that year. He was one of the earliest recorded settlers in New England colonies of America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Cruder. This was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.
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