This interesting surname, with variant spellings Foister, Foyster and Fuster, derives from the Anglo-French "fuster", itself coming from the old French "fustier" or "Fustrier", a derivative of "fustre", block of wood, plus the agent suffix "-ier". The name was therefore occupational for a worker in wood, and specifically one who made the wooden framework of the saddle-tree. The surname first appears on record in the latter part of the 12th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include: Robertus de Cathale, "fufster" - the "Register of the Freemen of York City", dated 1277; Nicholas le Fuster - the 1348 "Close Rolls of London", an Richardus Fuystour the 1379 "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire".Frequent references are made to the profession in the York Medieval Mystery Plays. It is recorded that "the Sellers (Saddlers), Verrours, and Fuystours (Fewsters), went together in the York Pageant". On February 9th 1552 Barthylemewe Feyster and Alyce Sparrowe were married in St. Margaret's, Westminster, London and on August 28th 1666 George Fewster married a Mary Reever in Allhallows, Honey Lane, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Durand le Fuster, which was dated circa 1179, in the "Records of St. Bartholomew's Hospital", London, 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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