Recorded as Potage, Pottage, Pottager, and Pottinger, this is an English surname. It is however of French occupational origins, deriving from the word "potagier" meaning a maker of pottage, a thick soup or stew. Pottage was a favourite dish of food in olden days and the Pottager from his knowledge of herbs gradually became looked upon as a medicine man or herbalist. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by an individual and later became hereditary. The surname is first recorded in the beginning of the 14th Century (see below). One Walter le Potager appears in the 1321 Parliamentary Writs of Oxfordshire and John Potyngar, is noted as a witness in the Court Rolls of the Borough of Colchester in 1356. On January 14th 1599, Scolastica Pottinger married Robert Peacoke at St. James, Clerkenwell, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Pottinger family depicts a gold eastern crown between three pelicans in their piety proper on a green shield, on a silver canton (top left hand corner) is a red cross. On the crest is a dexter arm embowed in armour grasping a sword all proper surmounted by an eastern crown. The motto "Virtus in audua" translates as "Courage against difficulties". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter le Potagier which was dated 1300, witness, in the "London Court Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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