This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has three possible sources. Firstly, it may be an occupational name for a slaughterer of animals, deriving from the Middle English "slahter", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "sleaht" meaning killing, slaughter. Secondly, it may be either a topographical name for someone who lived by a muddy spot, from the Middle English "sloghtre", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "slohtre", a derivative of "sloh" meaning slough, or it may be a locational name from a place named with this term, for example Upper and Lower Slaughter in Gloucestershire. Finally, it may be a topographical name for someone who lived by a sloe tree, deriving from the Olde English "slahtreow". The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include Mariota de la Sloghtere (1296), Sussex, and Roger Slaghtere (1360), Suffolk. London Church Records list the christening of William, son of William and Emma Slaughter, on October 26th 1572 at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, and the marriage of Henry Slaughter to Ales Taylor on November 16th 1606 at St. John's, Hackney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Scloctres, which was dated 1191, in the "Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire", during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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