This interesting name has two possible origins, the first and most likely being a patronymic ("the son of Water", a transposed variant of the personal name "Walter" (itself coming from the Old German "Waldhar" meaning "rule people"). Water was, in fact, the normal medieval pronunciation of Walter. One "Walterus" or "Waterus filius (son of) Herberti" is recorded in London circa 1135. The surname Watter, adopted from this source, appears in 1214. The patronymic form is recorded over a Century later (see below). In 1348, one John Wauters is entered in the Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire. The name may also be topographical in origin, and given to one residing by a stretch of water, for example, William atte Watere, recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, dated 1296. Topographical surnames, such as this, were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Recordings from London Church Registers include the marriage of Elizabeth Watters and Richard Potter on December 31st 1652, in Bull Lane Independent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alice Waters, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire" during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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