Recorded in over forty spelling forms including Walter, Walters and Water (England), Gaultier, Galtie and Gauthier (France), Walter, Walther and Waldherr (Germany), Gwalter and Gwilt (Wales), this is a surname of Germanic origins. The derivation is from the pre 7th century personal name "Waldhar", a compound of the elements "wald", meaning to rule, and "hari" - an army. The name was introduced into France during the reign of the Emperor Charlemagne in the 9th century, and into England during the reign of King Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1066). However it was through the Norman Conquest of 1066, that the name made its greatest impact the British Isles. The first recording of the name in any form although this is not hereditary, is that of "Walterus episcopus of London", in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. The surname itself in a hereditary form is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century, and early examples include: Petrus Walteri in the pipe rolls of Suffolk in 1192, Conrad Walteri of Bronnbach, Wurzburg, Germany, in 1214, and Geoffrey Walter in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex for the year 1296. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Petrus Walterus. This was dated 1182, in the rolls of the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, known as "The church builder", 1154 - 1189. 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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