Recorded in the spellings of Tour, De la Tour, Latour, Torre, de la Torre, and diminutives such as Touret, Torricina etc, this is a surname which has to be described as 'European'. In origin it can be said to be Roman, and from the pre Christian period, however it is recorded in the many different spellings in every European country since the medieval times of the 13th century. The surname is both residential and status, and describes a person who lived in and probably owned a fortified castle or small fortress, one probably of a single tower. The original word being derived from the Latin 'turris'. The plural version of the surname as in Tours or Towers derives from the city of Tours, in France. The city name originates from the pre 7th century Gaelic tribe called the 'Turones', who were prominent in the days after the fall of the Roman Empire in 410 a.d. Early examples of the surname are mainly found in England. These include Gilbert le Tower in the 1255 rolls of the county of Wiltshire, and William de la Tur, in the Assize Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire in the year 1260. Other recordings taken from church registers include in France Jeanne de la Tour, of Angers St Jacques, born on April 1st 1693, and in Mexico, Manuel de la Torre, at Ascuncion, Districto Federal, on December 4th 1747. The coat of arms has the blazon of a blue field charged with a single silver tower. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elyas de Toure, which was dated 1202, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Somerset, during the reign of King John of England, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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