This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an occupational surname for a shoemaker or a cobbler. The name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century word 'sutere', from the Latin 'sutor', shoemaker, a derivative of 'suere', to sew. There are a surprising number of variant forms of the modern surname, found as Soutar, Souter, Souttar, Soutter, Sowter, Sueter, Suter, Sutor, Sewter, and Sutters, the latter being the only patronymic form of the name, meaning 'son of the sutor'. The development of the surname includes John le Sutere (1273, Cambridgeshire), William le Soutare and Roger Soutere (1327, Sussex), and John Sowter (1379, Yorkshire). The Medieval Winchester Guild Rolls list 'everych sowtere that maketh shon (shoes) of newe lether'. One Gregory Souter was christened at St. Martin in the Fields, London on the December 1st 1615. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas le Soutere, which was dated 1263, 'Middle English Occupational Surnames', during the reign of King Henry 111, '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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