This famous English surname found in the spelling forms of Thatcher, Thacker, Thacher, and the female Thaxter and Thackster, is occupational. It describes one of the most important professions of the pre 16th century, the manufacture and application of roofing materials by the use of specially grown weatherproof reed and straw. The prominence of the trade can be shown by the fact that the 'Tille-theckers' were invited to take part as a guild in the processions which proceeded the famous York Mystery Plays in the 14th century. The name is also recorded in Scotland in its near original form of 'Thacker', and as with the English nameholders the origin is from the Olde English pre 7th century 'taca' meaning 'a roof of thatch', plus the personal suffix 'er' to indicate one who works. The earliest Scottish recording relates to one Thomas Thekar, described as being 'a criminal in Aberdeen jail' in 1411! However in general the nameholders have achieved respectability rather than infamy, examples of early recordings include William Thecker of Norfolk in 1301, Ricardus Theker, a Freeman of York in 1379, Robert Thacker who married Agnes Blage at St James Church, Clerkenwell, London in 1565, and Robert Thatcher, a student at University College, Oxford in 1591/92. Amongst the early settlers in the new colony of Barbados was Francis Thatcher, whose son Samuel was born on February 23rd 1678. The coat of arms granted in Sussex in 1634 in the reign of Charles 1 (The Martyr), has the blazon of a red field, a cross moline in silver, and on a silver chief three blue grass hoppers. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald le Thechare, which was dated 1273, the Hundred Rolls of the county of Oxford, during the reign of King Edward 1, 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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