This German surname of NETTER is an occupational name for a tailor, from the German word NAHEN (to sew). The tailor was an important part of medieval life, and in the parts of Europe where the winter weather was severe everyone needed the 'great cloak' required by nobles or other warm clothing which was made by the tailor whose talent commanded respect. In these times clothes made the man, showing everyone the class in which he belonged and the deference due to him. Laws restricted the lower classes from wearing the clothes of their 'betters'. In almost all European countries the family name derived from the occupation as a tailor became a popular one. The name is also spelt NAGER, NEHER, NEIGER, NADER, NATHER, NETHER, NEIGER and NETTERMAN, to name but a few. The earliest of the name on record is one Johannes NETTER, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of England in the year 1379. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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