Recorded as Peter, and the patronymics Peters and Peterson, this is a Crusader surname. That is to say it was a name which was originally biblical and was largely introduced into Europe by Crusader knights and pilgrims returning from the Holy Land in the 12th century. It derives from the Greek word "petros", meaning a rock, and is associated with St Peter, the apostle. It first recorded in England as a personal name, at the time there were no surnames, in the Domesday Book of 1086. Today these early Christian names including such forms as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, although this is more popularly known as the patronymic Jones, form the largest single grouping within the surname listings.As a surname it is first recorded at the end of the 12th century, with that of Ralph Peter in the Pipe Rolls of Hertfordshire in 1195. The patronymic form emerges in the early half of the 14th Century (see below), the final "s" as attached to the name being a reduced form of "son of". Amongst the early famous name holders was Hugh Peters (1598 - 1660). He was the chaplain to the parliamentary army of Oliver Cromwell, and was executed at Charing Cross in 1660 as a regicide, having signed the death warrant of King Charles 1st in 1648. Charles Peters (1695 - 1746), was physician to King George 11nd, and also Physician-General to the British army. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Petres. This was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Edward 111rd of England, 1327 - 1377. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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