Recorded as Force, Fores, Forss, Farce and Forcer, this is an English medieval surname. It is however of French origins, probably being introduced into England after the Norman Invasion of 1066. It is occupational and describes a sheep shearer or perhaps a skinner. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Old French word 'force', meaning a clipping knife or shears. The New English Dictionary of 1888 quoting from a medieval charter refers to ' ye sheer men and dyers, the forcers of wool, caster of wools and sorters of wool, and other trades'.Early examples of the surname recordings taken from early rolls and registers include Ralph le Forcer in the Assize Rolls of Warwickshire in 1221, and William le Forcir in the tax register known as the Fees for the county of Shropshire in 1272. Amongst the many surviving recordings in the registers of the city of London is the christening of William Force at Tottenham, on February 14thg 1597, that of Catherine Forcer on March 14th 1674 at St. Brides Fleet Street, and that of Robert Fores at St Leonards Shoreditch on October 6th 1810. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph le Forcier. This was dated 1210, in the Pipe Rolls of London, during the reign of King John of England, known as 'Lackland', 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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