The surname of POTTER was an occupational name 'the potter' a maker of pots and vessels for cooking or drinking. The name was common to medieval registers all over the country from the 13th century onwards. The small villages of Europe, or Royal and Noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. 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 Michael le Potere, 1273 London. Ranulf le Poter, was documented in the County of Kent, in the same year. Nicholas le Potter was the bailif of Yarmouth in 1303. Robert Bruffe married Margaret Potter at St. Jame's, Clerkenwell, London in 1598. One of the most eminent of the name was Helen Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) the English author and illustrator of books for children, born in Kensington, London, into a wealthy family. The atmosphere at home was oppressively quiet and Beatrix, supervised by nurses and educated by governesses, grew up a lonely child. She taught herself to draw and paint, and while still young did serious natural history studies, with the intention of making a book of watercolours. She turned to sketching pet animals dressed as human beings. Her first book, 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit' was published at her own expense in 1893. She then became the most outstanding writer and artist of picture-story books of her time. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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