This interesting and long-established surname is of Old French origin, and is an occupational name for a maker of quilts and mattresses, and also of the quilted garments worn in battle instead of armour made of metal. The derivation is from the Old French "cuilte, coilte", quilt, mattress (ultimately from the Latin "culcita"), with the addition of the agent suffix "-(i)er". In its original sense "a man who has to do with", the "-(i)er" designates persons according to their profession or occupation. Job-descriptive surnames initially denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The name was introduced into England by French settlers in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066, and early recordings of same include: Ralph le Cuiltier, noted in the 1186 Pipe Rolls of Wiltshire, and William le Quilter, mentioned in Documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire, dated 1189. In 1507, one John Quylter, B.A., was entered in the Oxford University Register, and on November 29th 1562, John Quilter or Quylter was christened at St. Paul's, Canterbury, Kent. A Coat of Arms granted to the Quilter family in 1551 is a silver shield with a black bend between three Cornish choughs proper, the Crest being an arm embowed in armour holding a battle axe all proper, a scarf round the wrist silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Cuilter, which was dated circa 1179, in "Records of St. Bartholomew's Hospital", London, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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