This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either a topographical name for someone who lived to the south of a main settlement, or a regional name for one who had migrated from the south. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "sutherne", Middle English "sothern", southern. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Early examples of the surname include: Robert le Sotheren and John le Southeren (Yorkshire, 1297 and 1307 respectively); Henry le Sotheron, noted in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire; and Richard Sotheran, entered in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York in 1352. In 1379, one Johannes Sotheron was recorded in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Sotheron family of London and Shropshire in 1628 is a red shield with three black eagles displayed on a silver bend. The Crest depicts an eagle displayed with two heads per pale silver and azure, ducally crowned upon each head gold. The Motto "Alta peto", translates as "Aim at high things". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey le Sutherne, which was dated 1243, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", 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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