This very interesting name, with spellings Seater, Seatter and Setter, is of Orcadian origin. It derives from an ancient barony called "The lands of Setter" in Stromness, in the Orkney Isles, north of Scotland. The origination is the Olde Norse pre 7th century word "saetr" meaning a shieling, a hut or shelter for animals. This is synonymous with the Olde English word "set" translating as a fold where animals were kept, but when referring to old villages, the meaning may be homestead or even village. The surname is well recorded in Orkney Church registers from the mid 17th Century, (see below), and early examples of the recordings include that of David Seater and Jonet Irving, who were married at Kirkwall in St. Ola on November 11th 1672,whilst on May 1st 1685, Janet Seatter married Alexander Wildridge at Shapinsay, Orkney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Arthur Setter, the son of James Setter and the former Marion Walter. This was dated August 23rd 1663, when he was christened at Shapinsay. This was during the reign of King Charles 11nd of England, known as "The Merry Monarch", 1660 - 1685. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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