This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a metonymic occupational name for a comber or carder of wool, from an agent derivative of the Middle English "tose(n)", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "tasian" (a byform of "taesan"), meaning to tease. "What schepe that is full of wulle, Upon his back they tose and pulle", Gower's "Confessio Amantis". Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer and later became hereditary. The surname dates back to the mid 13th Century (see below). Early recordings include William le Thosere (1280) in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset, and John Tosere (1333) in the "Placenames of Devonshire". London Church Records list the christening of John, son of Andrew and Isabell Tozer, on November 13th 1635, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. One Aaron Tozer (1788 - 1854) was a captain in the navy. He was wounded at the capture of a French frigate in Didon in 1805, and served at the reduction of Madeira in the West Indies, in the Walcheren expedition, and in the Mediterranean. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Tosere, which was dated 1249, in the "Middle English Surnames of Occupation", Sussex, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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