This most unusual and rare surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name for someone who lived by a city or walled town. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ceaster, caester", an early loan word from the Latin "castra", meaning "a city or walled town", originally one that had been a Roman station. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. It has also been suggested that it may have been a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place, believed to have been situated in Scotland, because of the early recordings found there. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared since the 12th Century, due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and to the widespread practice of enforced "clearing" and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pastures from the 15th Century onwards. The placename would also have derived from the Olde English "ceaster". Henricus Cyster held a land in burgage in Ayrshire (1325). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henricus dictus Cyser, burgess of Ayrshire, which was dated 1316, in the "Charters of the royal burgh of Ayrshire", Scotland, during the reign of King Robert 1 (Bruce) of Scotland, 1306 - 1329. 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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