Recorded as Lauder, Louder and Lowder, this interesting and unusual surname is English. It is locational from the village of Lowther in Cumbria. First recorded as Lauder in the records of Kendale in 1180, and as Loudre in the Pipe Rolls of Westmorland, dated 1195, the place was named 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. One Henry de Louthere was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Westmorland in 1184, whilst Mary Louder was recorded at St Botolophs Bishopgate in the city of London in 1644, and Catherine, the daughter of Sir John Lowder, Knight, was christened in Cumbria, in 1686. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Lauder. This was dated 1184, in the "Pipe Rolls of Westmorland", during the reign of King Henry 11nd, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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