The records of the 'Ye Government and Councill of ye Assembly' of the Sommer Islands (now the West Indies) for August 23rd 1673 refer to "The lands in St Davids Island" and in particular three shares "being ye lands of Mr Perient Trotter". This entry makes "Trotter" one of the earliest of recorded surnames in the new American Colonies of the 17th century. However early "Trotter" was in the New World, it was nearly five hundred years older in its place of origin, Medieval England. Like Trott and Trotman it derives from the Olde French "trotier" a descriptive nickname for a messenger, a form introduced by the Norman Invaders after 1066 a.d. In its useage and recordings the name has overlapped with the Olde English pre 10th century "trothe" again a nickname, but this time for a person singled out for their loyalty and faithfulness. The Coat of Arms granted in 1574 in the reign of Elizabeth 1 (1558 - 1603) is of a paly of gold and red, on a silver chief, a black bear rampant. The early recordings include Adam le Trotar in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219, although strictly speaking this is not a surname, but purely a job description. Other early examples include William Le Trot in Sussex in 1327, and Thomas Troht of Somerset in the same year. Later registrations include Jeffry Troter, Bailiff of Yarmouth, Norfolk, in 1340, and Jane Trott, married at St Michaels Church, Cornhill, on July 1st 1661. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robart Trotar, which was dated 1148, in the Winton Pipe Rolls of Hampshire, during the reign of King Stephen of England, known as 'Stephen of Blois', 1135 - 1154. 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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