This most interesting name is of Scottish and English occupational origin for a judge from the old English "dem(e)stre", to judge, which gave rise to the term "dempster", a title given to a "judge of the parliament, shire or baron-bailie. Until the year 1747 every Lord whose land has been erected into a barony was empowered to hold courts for the trial and punishment of certain offenders within his barony. Thus they would be tried by the Dempster, the Lord's judge. "Deemster" is the title of one of the two justices in the Isle of Man. The surname itself first appears in the late 13th Century, (see below). One Andrew Dempstar made a gift of his lands of Menmuir to the Priory of Restennot in 1360 and witnessed a Brechin Document in 1364 in the Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis. One Robert Demster was bailie of Forfar in 1361, while Andrew Dempstar was "on the Assize of the Marches of Woodwrae in 1388". Thomas Dempster (1579 - 1625) was appointed Professor of Civil Law at Pisa by Comos 11, Grand Duke of Tuscany and was knighted by Urban V111. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Haldam de Emester or Deemester, of Perthshire, which was dated 1296, "Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland", during the reign of King John Balliol, "Ruler of Scotland", 1292 - 1296. 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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