Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English surname but one of Old French origins. It was introduced into Britain by the Norman-French at the famous Conquest of 1066. It is either a topographical or an occupational surname, from the word "travers", meaning a passage, and ultimately from the Roman (Latin) verb "transversare" to cross. As a topographical surname, it described someone who lived by a bridge or a ford, and, as an occupational surname, to one who gathered the tolls exacted for the right of passage across a particular bridge or ford. In 1285, the Bishop of Norwich is recorded as stating that he and his predecessors were accustomed to take "travers" at South Elmham (in Suffolk) from foreign merchants crossing a certain bridge with merchandise, for the upkeep of the bridge. The modern surname forms include Travers, Travis, Trevers, Treversh, and Trevis, and a recording in the surviving church registers of the city of London includes that of the christening of James Trevers at St. Michael Cornhill, on December 14th 1559. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Travers. This was dated 1272, in "Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses", Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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