Recorded as Sowete, Sowtt, Suat, Suatt, Suet, Suett, Sueter, Sewester, Soustere, Sowester, and others, this most interesting surname is English. It was occupational for a tailor, a seamster or one who sews. This is from the pre 7th century word "seowan", meaning 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. It later became hereditary, usually when a son followed his father, but sometimes his mother, into the same occupation. The surname itself first appears in the late 13th Century (see below) and the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Yorkshire record Alice Sewstere in 1301, whilst Emma le Sowester appeared in the Close Rolls for London in 1307, with Juliana le Suster being recorded in Bedfordshire Subsidy Tax Rolls in 1309. The name is recorded in surviving church registers of the city of London when Elizabeth Suestar was christened at St Andrews Enfield, on August 21st 1608, Margaret Suet who married Richard Kinge at St Katherine by the Tower (of London) on January 15th 1610, and Marthar Suat who married John Blake, at Charterhouse Chapel, Southwark, on May 22nd 1699. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Cristiana Seustere. This was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "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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