This unusual name is of Norman origin, from the personal name 'Walt(i)er' or 'Waut(i)er' introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. The ultimate derivation of the name is from the Olde German elements 'wald', meaning rule, and 'heri' or 'hari', army. The Domesday Book of 1086 records the personal name as 'Walterii' and 'Galterii', and it soon became one of the most popular given names, usually as Walter and Wauter, the latter reflecting the vernacular pronunciation. A great many variant surnames were generated by the personal name, among them Water, Gaulter, Gautrean and Gautrey. The marriage of John Gautrey and Mary Mann was recorded on the 26th June 1785 at St. Botolph's, Bishopgate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Petrus Walterus, which was dated 1182, Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry II, 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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