This interesting name, with variant spellings Aldred, Alldread, Alldred, Alldritt, Audritt, Eldred, Eldrett, Eldrid, Eldritt and Elldred, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two distinct possible sources, the first and most likely being a derivative of the Middle English personal name "Aldred", which represents a coalescence of two Olde English pre 7th Century personal names: "Ealdroed", composed of the elements "eald" meaning "old", plus "roed", counsel, and "Aethelroed", from "aethel", noble, plus "roed" (as before). These personal names appear in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Aeldred, Aldret, Eldred" and "Eldret". The surname from this source was first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below), and one Golding Aldred was entered in records of Clerkenwell, Middlesex, circa 1224. The second possibility is that the name is topographical, from "residence by an alder grove". The derivation, in this case, is from the Middle English "al(d)rett", from the Olde English "alor", an alder tree. 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. The first recording from this source of the name was that of John atte Alrette, who was noted in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Aldredus, which was dated 1207, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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