There are two possible meanings of this interesting name of medieval French origin, the first being that it is a nickname surname for a peasant who gave himself airs and graces, or an occupational name for someone in the service of a great lord. The derivation is from the Old French "sor" or "sieur", sire or sir. The following are examples after the first recording (see below) Matheus le Sire (1201, Curia Rolls of Nottingham), Ralph le Seyr (1296, Subsidy Rolls of Sussex), Walter Surr (1327, Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire), and in the modern idiom the variants include Sire, Sier, Sirr, Surr, Syer, and Syers. Amongst the sample recordings in London in the christening of John Surr, the infant son of Nathaniel and Sarah Surr at St. Faith under St. Paul, London on November 28th 1689. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Sire, which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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