This surname was of the occupational group of names denoting one who was a goatherd, and originally derived from the Latin name CAPRA (nanny-goat). Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The name in its many forms is familiar to all Europe, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. William Cheure (without surname) was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1066, and Hamelin Chieure appears in London in the year 1186. Nicholas le Chiuer was recorded in County Sussex in the year 1327.
Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. The name of the Irish family now known as Chevers has taken many forms including Cheevers and Chievre. It can be traced to Gosfred Chievre, a Norman nobleman living in 1100 whose son William Chevre received land in Wexford when he took part in Strongbow's invasion of Ireland in 1172. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected.
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