Recorded as Panter and the rarer Panther, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname. It is one of a group which includes Steward, Butler, Spencer and Hind, that were job descriptive for occupations in connection with a royal or noble household in medieval times. In this case the origin is from the French word "panetier", and as such it describes a household official who managed the making and distribution of the bread and other baked foods, or in connection with a monastery, the responsiblility for the distribution of food to the poor, 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 Close Rolls of Hampshire in the year 1230, In Scotland William Paneter held lands at Monros in 1350, whilst in Andrew Panter was the burgess of Monros in 1399. Early examples of the surname recording in surviving church registers include Dorothe Panterchristened at the church of St. Stephen, Coleman Street, in the city of London in the year 1600, and Elizabeth Panther who married Daniell Hocknell at St Georges chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster, in 1768. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald le Paneter. This was dated 1200, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" ofen leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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