Recorded as Tolcher, Tolchar, Tolchard, Tolcharde, Toullcherd, and probably others, this is an English surname from the West Country. It is or was occupational, and a descriptive surname for a thatcher or reeder, from the original Olde English pre 7th century word "taecan" meaning to cover. As such it was used in a transferred sense to describe a method of roofing using thatch. Occupational surnames were amongst the earliest to be created, but usually only became hereditary when a son but sometimes a daughter followed the parent into the same line of business or skill. Amongst the early recordings are those of Reginald le Tolchar in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of the county Oxfordshire in 1273, and Jon le Tacchere in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Worcester in 1275. Surviving church recordings from the county of Devon generally regarded as the centre of the surname in its various spellings include Thomas Tolchard of Dean Prior near Totnes, in 1561, Margaria Tolcher of Ashburton in 1611, Allse Toulcherd also of Dean Prior in 1618, and Thomas Toolcher of Churston Ferres, who married Joan Gree in 1632. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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