This interesting name, with variant spellings Forester, Forestier and Forrestor was an occupational name for "an officier in charge of the Kings forest" from the Old French "forestier", and Medieval English "forester". It may also have described one who worked in a forest belonging to the Kings nobles. At Pulham, in Norfolk, a free tenant held twenty acres "per servicium forestare", in 1222, while Robertus Forestarins, a free tenant paid 4 s.'8 d. for seventeen acres in Hitcham Suffolk in 1277. He had to guard all the woods of his lord, the Bishop of Ely and had various forest privileges including, one log for his fire at Christmas, all trees and branches in the woods blown down in a storm and the right to keep pigs in the wood. Richard le Forester was recorded in 1240, in the Feet of Fines of Essex, while the Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire mention a Petrus Forestarius in 1273. David Forrester (1588-1633), was a Scottish divine who was deposed from pastorate of North Leith for apposition to the five articles of Perth and restored in 1627. Joseph James Forrester, Baron de Forrester in Portugal (1809-1861), was a wine merchant and skipper, went to Oporto in 1831, and exerted himself in the reform of wine making and exportation, known as "Protector of the Douro". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Forester, which was dated 1183, in the Pipe Rolls of Surrey, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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