This interesting surname, with variant spellings Goodyer, Goodier, Goudier, Goodger and Gudger derives from the Medieval English phrase goodyeare, goodier, goodere and goodye(e)re, a term meaning "good year", an expletive used in questions, "what the good year" possibly elliptic for "as I hope to have a good year". This term was composed of the Old English elements "god", good (Medieval English "gode") and "gear", year (Medieval English "year"). Other examples of this group of medieval names, originating in commonly used phrases, often beginning with the element "good", include "Goodsir", "Goodsay", "Goodby", from the phrases, "Good sir", "Good day" and "God be with you". Henry Godyar was recorded in the 1285 Assize Court Rolls of Essex, and John Godhyer was mentioned in 1296, in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Both William Goudhier and Maud Godeyiere were recorded in the 1301 Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire. Agnes Goudyer was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1327. A notable namebearer was Charles Goodyear (1800 - 1860) who invented vulcanized rubber in America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Godyer, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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