This interesting and unusual surname is of English locational origin from Lowther in Cumbria. Recorded as "Lauder" circa 1180 in "Records of Kendale", and as "Loudre" in the Pipe Rolls of Westmorland, dated 1195, the place was so called from the river Lowther on which it stands. The etymology of the river name is obscure; possibly it is a British (pre-Roman) name identical with "Lauder", the name of a place in Scotland meaning "trench" or "ditch", cognate with the Gaulish "lautro", bath, and Old Irish "lothar", canal; alternatively, it may derive from the Old Norse "lauthr", froth, foam; hence, "foaming river". Locational names, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and to the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. In the modern idiom the surname has several spellings including Lauther, Lawther, Lowther and Lowder. Henry de Louthere was recorded in the 1184 Pipe Rolls of Westmorland, and in 1664, Catherine, daughter of Sir John Lowder, Knight, was christened in Cumbria. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Lauder, which was dated 1184, in the "Pipe Rolls of Westmorland", 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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