This most interesting surname is an English occupational name for a tailor, a seamstress or for one who sews, from the Medieval English "Soustere, Sewester, Sowester", from the old English "Seowian", to sew. Originally, the agent suffix "-ster" was applied only to women, but by the end of the Middle English period it was applied to both sexes. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by an individual and later became hereditary. The surname itself first appears in the late 13th Century (see below). The Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire record one Alice Sewstere in 1301, while one Emma le Sowester appeared in 1307 in the Close Rolls. Juliana le Suster was recorded in 1309 in the Bedfordshire Subsidy Rolls. The earliest appearance of the name in London Church Registers is on August 9th 1674 when Lucia daughter of Samuelis Sowster was christened at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster. Anne Souster was christened on October 28th 1756 at Putney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Cristiana Seustere, which was dated 1279, The Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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