Recorded as Medlar, Medler and Midler, this is an English surname. It has two possible origins, both locational. The first is from the place called 'Medlar,' a village in Lancashire, and recorded in the 'Cockersand Chartulary' of 1215 as 'Midelarge'. The place name is of pre 7th century origin, and means 'The middle pasture', from a compound of the Old English pre 7th Century 'mid(del)' meaning middle, and the Norse-Viking 'erg', a hill pasture. The second possible source is the place now called 'Madehurst' in Sussex. This is named from the word 'maced', meaning a meadow, and 'hyrst', wooded hill. However it is first recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex in 1188 as Medliers, because the Norman-French scribe who carried out the recording, the official language having been changed from English to French following the Norman Conquest of 1066, associated the place with the French word 'medlier', meaning a crab apple type fruit. Early examples of recordings include the marriage of Anne Medler to John Hicks at St James Clerkenwell in the city of London in 1640, although the very first recorded spelling of the family name is four centuries earlier. This was shown to be that of Nicholas de Medler, and dated 1273 in the Hundred Rolls of landowners Shropshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England but known to history as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272-1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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