Recorded in the spellings of Gawler and Gowler, this interesting and unusual name is of Olde English pre 7th century origins. It is occupational and possibly a nickname for a "banker", alhough in the original sense of the word, it means a money-changer or money-lender. The 13th century surname derives from the ancient word "gafol", meaning "tribute or interest", and this developed into the Middle English 12th century "gaveler, goveler, or gowler", different spellings being found in different regions of the country. The agent suffix "-er" indicates a 'worker', although this is not the usual term associated with banking. The now mainly obsolete word "gavelkind", described a system of land tenancy found only in the county of Kent in England, and presided over by a "gaveler". At a time when tenants were expected not only to pay rent for their own lands, but also to put in time on behalf of the landlord, "gavelkind" was unique in being payment for the land only. Early examples of the surname recordings include William Le Gaulere, in the Fees Court of Colchester, Essex, in 1305, James Gawler of Witham, Essex, in 1551, and Nicholas Gowler, who married Maudlyne Williams on May 4th 1623, at St. Giles's Cripplegate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Gauelere, which was dated 1206, in the pipe rolls of the county of Dorset, during the reign of King John of England, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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