This unusual and very interesting surname recorded as Todhunter and much more rarely Tadhunter, is English. In former times it was chiefly found in the far north and particularly in the famous Lake District and Border country. The derivation was from the Old English word "todde", meaning a fox, with the fused word of "hunter", a derivative of "huntian", meaning to hunt. A tod hunter it is said, was paid by the local parish to keep down pests and vermin as well as foxes. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the occupation of the namebearer, and only later became hereditary when a son follwoed his father into the same line of business. Under a statute of King Henry V111 (1509 - 1547), a tod hunter was given twelvepence per fox-head from the parish warden. Examples of early recordings include those of William Todhunter and Janet Todhunter who were married at Greystoke, in Cumberland, on October 4th 1561, Thomas Todhunter of Cumberland, was entered as a student in the register of Oxford University in 1585 whilst Robert Tadhunter was a witness at St Leonards Church, Shoreditch, in the city of London, on December 31st 1786. Todber village near Clitheroe in West Yorkshire, and Todridge in Northumberland, both have the Middle English "tod(de)", as their initial element. A notable bearer of the name was Isaac Todhunter (1820 - 1884), an accomplished linguist and gold medallist in mathematics. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Todhunter. This was dated 1332, in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Cumberland, during the reign of King Edward 111rd, known as "The Father of the English Navy", 1327 - 1377.
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