This rare name is of early medieval English origin, and derives from an occupational surname given in the first instance to someone employed as a drover, one who drove herds of cattle or sheep to market, for example. The name derives from the Middle English term "drover", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "draf", a derivative of "drifan", to drive, with the addition of the agent suffix "-er", indicating "one who does or works with". In Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing", Act 11 Scene 1, Benedick remarks: "Why, that's spoken like an honest drovier; so they sell bullocks". Job-descriptive surnames such as Drover, originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and gradually became hereditary. One Henry le Drovere is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire in 1327. Examples of the name from Church Registers include: the christening of Hellyno, daughter of Nicholas Drover, at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London, on March 21st 1598, and the marriage of Thomas Drover and Deborah Wyld, on June 18th 1654, at St. Nicholas', Rochester, Kent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh Drouere, which was dated 1294, in Thuresson's "Middle English Occupational Terms", Hertfordshire, 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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