Although this very interesting surname appears to be French, there is little evidence to support this suggestion. Throughout recorded history the name has appeared in this (near) spelling alongside the more usual "Gover", and whilst the spelling form as Govier is specifically South Western, from the Taunton-Exeter region, this is almost certainly dialectal. Gover, Govier is one of a small select group of surnames which is actually descriptive of a person's abilities. It derives from the medieval English phrase "go fairly", and describes a messenger, or possibly a spy, one who was able to move easily, or to use gentle, persuasive methods to obtain results. The probable "occupation" is at least partly confirmed by the earliest recording below. Late medieval Church Records include: Andrew Govier, who married Annes Bowne on July 18th 1560, at St. Mary Magdalene, Taunton, and Richard Govier, a christening witness at Wivelescombe Church, Somerset, on January 25th 1623, in the reign of James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Gofiar, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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