This long-established surname, with variant spellings Gould, Goult and Gold, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it may be from a personal name or nickname, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Golda" (masculine), or "Golde" (feminine), meaning "gold", originally given to one with bright golden hair, or perhaps in some cases to a "precious" person. Hugo fillius (son of) Golda was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Suffolk, and Ralph filius Golde was listed in the 1193 Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire. The second distinct possibility is that Go(u)ld/Goult is from a metonymic occupational name for a worker in gold, a refiner, jeweller or gilder, derived from the Olde English "golda, golde" (as above). Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The surname was first recorded in the mid 12th Century (see below), and may derive from either source. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Ann Gould on December 11th 1580, at St. Andrew's, Holborn, and the christening of Margaret Goult on May 14th 1663, at St. Giles' Cripplegate. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a shield divided per saltire gold and blue with a lion rampant counterchanged, the Crest being a blue demi lion rampant bezantee. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Golde, which was dated 1165, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", 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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