The surname of OASTLER was an occupational name 'the hosteler' a keeper of a hostel, an inn-keeper. The name was from the Old French word 'hostelier' and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. This term was first applied to the secular officer in a monastery who was responsible for the lodging of visitors, but was later extended to keepers of commercial hostelries. 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. Early records of the name mention Godfrey le Hoselur, who was documented in the year 1273, and Reginald le Osiler appears in 1300. Walter le Oyseleur of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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. Later instances of the name mention Richard Hosteler was the bailif of Yarmouth in 1501, and Martha, daughter of Henry Ostler was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1694. Laurence Osler and Elizabeth Butler were married at the same church in 1668.
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