This interesting surname of Anglo-Saxon origin derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Sceort" meaning "short" plus the comparative suffix "er", a nickname used to distinguish between the shorter of two brothers. The creation of surname from a nickname was a common practice in the Middle Ages and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics as in this instance the "shorter". The surname dates back to the late 15th Century (see below). Parish records include one William Shorter who was christened on April 12th 1562 at St.Bartholomew Exchange, London and Ambrose, son of William Shorter who was christened on June 30th 1563 also at St. Bartholomew Exchange, London. A Coat of Arms was granted to a Shorter family in London in 1687 consisting of a gold lion rampant ducally crowned between three silver battle axes gold headed on a black shield. The Crest being a black griffin's head gorged with a gold collar between three wings displayed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Shorter which was dated 1476, in the "Patent Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Edward 1V, known as "The Self Proclaimed King", 1461 - 1483. 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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