Recorded as Fletcher and Flescher, this is a very old established English surname. It is occupational and describes either a maker of flights for arrows, or a cleaner of skins for the production of leather. Either way these were very important occupations in medieval times. In the famous Guild Processions of the period of history known as the "Middle Ages, the fletchers and the bowyers (bow makers) would march together. The derivation is from the Old French word "flechier", intoruduced by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion when for three centururies French was the official language of England. Early examples of the surname recordings include: Peter le Flechier, a witness at the Assize Court of Bedfordshire in 1227, whilst from the later church registers we have the early example of Thomas Fletcher, who was married at Farnworth in the county of Lancashire, on July 13th 1539. The register which contains the Privy Purse expenses of King Henry V111 in the year 1542 has the the following entry: "Paid to Guilliam, the Kinge's ffletcher for arowes for my Lorde of Richemonde xxs." This means twenty shillings, or 1.00, and would have represented as many as a gross (144) of arrows. Amongst the earliest of the entries relating to people who obtained tickets to emigrate to the New England colonies of America, was Moses Fletcher. He was listed as a passenger on the famous ship "Mayflower," which sailed for Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Flecher. This was dated 1203, in the Assize Court rolls of Staffordshire, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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