Although the origination of this ancient name is the Olde English pre 7th Century "Winteur" which means "Winter", the surname is usually nickname for a person with a "sad countenance" or perhaps a person who suffered considerable hardship. In pre Victorian Times, the winter period was regarded with fear by the population, being associated with famine, cold and possibly death. The name development inlcudes Emma Wynter of York (1379, Poll Tax Rolls), whilst it is also recorded in Scotland in 1374 when a Jop Wyntyr was a charter witness at Yester, whilst in 1698, the French form as Jacques Vinetier (a Huguenot) was recorded at Threadneedle Street, London and this is probably the origination of "Wintour" -Mildred Wintour being married in London in 1861. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Winter, which was dated 1185, The Knight Templars (Crusader) Roll for Warwickshire, during the reign of King Henry II, "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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