This surname is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational name for someone who covered roofs with slate. The derivation is from the Middle English "s(c)late", from the Old French "esclate", slate, with the addition of the agent suffix "er" (one who does or works with). Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer and later became hereditary. Early examples of the surname include: Roger Sclatiere and Walter Sclatter, recorded respectively in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, also Thomas Slater, entered in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire, in 1297. In the modern idiom the name has four spelling variations: Slator, Sclater, Slatter and Slater. On January 29th 1542, George Slater and Jone Umfrey were married at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London. One of the earliest settlers in America was John Slater, aged 22 yrs., who was recorded on a "List of the Inhabitants in Virginia", having come over on the "George" in 1617, three years prior to the arrival of the "Mayflower". A Coat of Arms granted to the Slater family of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, is gold, a red chevron between three green trefoils slipped. A dexter arm in armour couped below the wrist, holding in the gauntlet a sword all proper with a gold hilt and pommel, is on the Crest. The Motto, "Crescit sub pondere virtus", translates as, "Virtue thrives beneath Oppression". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas le Sclatere, which was dated 1255, in the "Middle English Surnames of Occupation", Worcestershire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "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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