This interesting and unusual name of medieval French origin is a metonymic occupational name for a sheep shearer. The derivation is from the Old French 'forcer', to clip or shear wool, from 'forces', clipping shears. 'Sheer-men and dyers, forcers of wool, caster of wools and sorters of wool'. (New English Dictionary). The following examples illustrate the name development after the earliest recording (see below). Ralph le Forcer (1221, Assize Rolls, Warwickshire), William le Forcir (1228 Fees, Shropshire). Amongst the sample recordings in London is the christening of Catherine Forcer, daughter of Francis and Jane Forcer on March 14th 1674 at St. Brides, Fleet Street, and the marriage between John Forcer and Elizabeth Bewry on May 22nd 1659 at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph le Forcier, which was dated 1210, Pipe Rolls, 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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