This interesting and unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and is from an occupational name for a scout or spy, derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "scut", from the Old French "escoute", from "escouter", to listen, itself from the Latin "auscultare", and the Middle English agent suffix "er". Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Early recordings of the surname include: William le Scutt (1222); John Scutard in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire, 1279; William le Skut, in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex; and William Skutt in the 1545 Subsidy Rolls of Wiltshire. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography" was Henry Scudder (deceased 1659), a divine of Christ's College, Cambridge, who was presented to the living of Collingbourne-Ducis in 1633. He was a member of the committee for scriptures in 1648, and he published various works, including "The Christian's Daily Walke in Holy Securitie and Peace". A Coat of Arms granted to a Scudder family of Kent is red on a fess gold, three pellets, in chief as many cinquefoils silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwin Scut, which was dated 1183, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", 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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