Recorded in many forms including Gossage, Gossedge, Gossard, Gossart, Gozzard, Gozzett, and Gassard, this is an English surname of some antiquity. It derives from the pre 7th century word 'gossart', which can be either of Anglo-Saxon or French origins, and has two possible sources. The first is occupational for a keeper of geese, derived from "gos-hierde" meaning a gooseherd, This was an important and well paid job at a time when the goose was the principle bird associated with feasts and particularly Christmas. The second origin derives from the Old French given name "Gosse", a form of the word god meaning good. The surname development includes: John le Goshurde of the county of Sussex in the Tax Subsidy Rolls of 1327, Anne Gossage who married George Elsmore at St Antholin's church in the city of London, on April 9th 1635, and Cornelius Gazzard who married Mary Kingston on July 17th 1764 at St. Botolph's Bishopgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is believed to be that of Walter Goseherd. This was dated 1236, in the Assize Court rolls of the county of Hampshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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