This rare and interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of the variant forms of the more familiar English and Scottish surname Walker. The name is occupational, for a fuller of cloth, derived from the Middle English "walkere", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "wealcere", itself an agent derivative of "wealcan", to walk, tread. Walker was the most usual term for the occupation during the Middle Ages in Northern England, and a number of variant forms of the surname are to be found in the counties of Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. Interestingly, these names, Walkster, Walster and Waltster, all show the originally feminine suffix "-ster", in Middle English "estre"; by the late medieval period of surname formation this suffix had come to be regarded as an emphatic form of the usual agent suffix "-er", and consequently was applied to men as well as to women, so that original bearers of the name Wal(k)ster may have been of either sex. Recordings of the surname from Church Registers include: the marriage of Thomas Walster and Elizabeth Story, in Nottingham, on April 2nd 1638; the christening of Robert Walstar on April 3rd 1640, at Scotter, Lincolnshire; and the marriage of Elizabeth Walster and William Stephenson in Warter in Yorkshire, on April 6th 1761. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Walkester, "fullo", which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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