This ancient surname is recorded in many spellings and in every European language. It derives from the Old German personal name "Waldhar", a compound of the elements "wasl", meaning "rule" plus "hari" - an army. The name was introduced into Franch during the reign of the Emperor Charlemagne in the 10th century and into England in the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1066). After the Norman Conquest of 1066 it was widely adopted as a christian name, the first recordings being in this form, an example being "Walterus of London, episcopus", in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century, and early examples include Petrus Walteri in the 1192 "Pipe Rolls of Suffolk", Conrad Walteri of Bronnbach, Wurzburg, Germany, in 1214, and Geoffrey Walter in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex for 1296. Recorded in the modern spellings of Walter, Walder, Wolther, Walther, Waldera, and many other forms, the surname is now found world wide. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Petrus Walterus, which was dated 1182, in the rolls of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 11 of England, known as "The church builder", 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.1189.
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