This surname of BAXTER was an occupational name 'the bakester' a female baker of bread originally a woman's occupation only. The name was taken early to Scotland by settlers. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles.Between 1200 and 1240 Reginald Baxter witnessed a charter in Fife. Early records of the name also mention Giliana le Bacster, 1273 County Huntingdonshire. William Baxtare was a crossbowman in Edinburgh Castle in 1312. Agnes Bakester of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Backester, was documented in County York in the year 1430.
A notable member of the name was Richard Baxter (1615-91) the English Nonconformist clergyman, born in Shropshire. His education was irregular, but he acquired immense knowledge by private study. In 1638, he was made deacon by the bishop of Worcester. In 1685 he was brought for alleged sedition, before Judge Jeffreys, who treated him in the most brutal manner. He was condemned to pay 500 marks, and to be imprisoned till the fine was paid. He lay in King's bench prison for nearly 18 months.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
Arms registered at Kilmaron, County Fife, 1863.
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