This is an Anglo-Saxon surname of great antiquity, being a development of the ancient compound personal name of the pre 10th Century "Gund-heri". The name translates as "Battle-Army", and given the warlike propensities of the period no doubt accounts for the relative popularity of the later medieval surname. In various spelling forms it is found in France as Gontier; Germany, Gunther; Sweden, Gunnar, and as the Scandinavian patronymics, Gundersen and Gunnarsson. The name, as a given name, was recorded in Northumberland in 1094 as "Gunterus", and one Guntier was recorded in Hampshire in 1165. The first surname form appears in the 13th Century (see below), another early example being William Gunter of Suffolk, in the medieval records of Ely of 1221. The Coat of Arms of Gunter (Sussex and Brecon) is black with three silver clenched gauntlets, with a Crest of a stag's head. One of the early immigrants to the first American Colony of "Virginea" was Lester Gunter, aged 13 yrs., who sailed from London on the ship "Truelove", in September 1635, having first taken the "oath of allegiance" to King Charles 1 (1625 - 1649). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Gunter, which was dated 1205, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Berkshire", during the reign of King John, 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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