This unusual Anglo-Scottish surname is one of a group which includes Steward, Butler, Spencer and Hind that were job descriptive for occupations usually performed in connection with a royal or noble household in ancient times. In this case the origin is French from the word "Panetier", and it describes a household official who managed the making and distribution of the bread and other baked foods. Where the "Panter" worked for a monastery, he was also responsible for the distribution of food to the poor of the locality, a sort of early Red Cross organiser. Not surprisingly the surname figures amongst the earliest on record, and examples of these recordings include Warin Paneter in the 1230 Close Rolls of Hampshire. In Scotland, where the origin is the same, the first recording is in a land charter of 1350 which shows that a William Paneter held lands at Monros, whilst in 1389 Andrew Panter was Burgess of Monros. Another interesting recording is that of Patrick Panter, secretary to King James V of Scotland (1513-1542). In London Dorothe Panter was christened at the church of St. Stephen, Coleman Street, on March 25th, 1600. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald le Paneter, which was dated 1200, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Kent, 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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