This unusual and interesting name has two possible origins, both equally applicable to modern-day bearers of the surname. "Setter(s)" was common in London as a surname and as an occupational term and as such described someone who worked as an embroider, specifically one who made capes. "Setter" is derived from the Middle English "setter", to set, used of placing ornaments etc., on a surface of metal or on garments. In the north of England, the setter could also be one who set or laid stones or bricks in building, as in the layers setters, or wallers who placed in position the stones worked by the masons. One, Thomas Harford married "Barbary Setter" in Canterbury, Kent, in 1685. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephen le Stere. which was dated 1262, Middle English surnames of Occupation, Hampshire. during the reign of King Henry III, The Frenchman, 1216 - 1272. 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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