This interesting and long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Whitcher may be an occupational name for a maker of chests deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hwicce", chest, with the addition of the agent suffix "-er". In its original sense "a man who has to do with", the "-er" designates persons according to their profession or occupation. Job-descriptive surnames initially denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Early examples of the name include: Robert le Wiccher and Robert le Whicchere, noted respectively in "Middle English Surnames of Occupation", Sussex (1285), and Hampshire (1333), and the synonymous William le Wyccewrichte (Somerset, 1256). As the Olde English "wic", hamlet, dairy-farm, dwelling, became both "wike" and "wiche" in Middle English, the surname may also be topographical in origin for a dweller at a dairy farm, the "-er" in this case, implying "dweller at". Alternatively, the name may denote "dairy farmer", as in Peter le Wycher (Worcestershire, 1327). In the modern idiom the surname is variously spelt: Whitcher, Whicher and Witcher. On June 5th 1615, Thomas Whitcher and Elizabeth Newby were married at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wicher, which was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls of Berkshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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