The surname of CROWDER was an occupational name 'the fiddler' a maker of music, one who played the violin. The name was derived from the Middle English word CROUTH a type of popular medieval stringed instrument. Most of the occupations or professions reflected in family names are those known in the small villages in Europe, or those followed in a kings, or an important noble's household, or in some large religious house or monastery. During the Middle Ages much of Europe of composed of small villages, and many families surnames sprang from the occupation of the owner, and to describe a man by his occupation or profession was the most natural way to address a man, and set him apart from others in the neighbourhood. Early records of the name mention Richard le Cruder, 1275, County Kent. Kenwrick le Cruther was documented in Chester in the year 1289. Thomas Crowther of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
A notable member of the name was Baron Crowther (Geoffrey) born in 1907. He was the English economist, born in the United States. He was the editor of 'The Economist' from 1938 until 1956.
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