This surname SOUTAR was of the occupational group of surnames meaning 'a female shoemaker or cobbler'. The name was originally derived from the Old French word 'soutar' and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Early records of the name mention Emma le Sowester who was documented during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Alicia Seuster of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Seuster was documented in the year 1400 in the County of Yorkshire. The name was taken to Scotland by early settlers, and Roger Sutor who held land in Dumfries in 1214, appears to be the first of the name recorded in Scotland. Bernard called Sustor held a charter of a house in the tenement of Drumelzier in 1300, and Henry dictus Sutor held land in Perth in 1375. Moricius Sustar and Simon Sutar were charged with being forestallers in Aberdeen in 1402, and several other persons of the name are mentioned there about the same time. (A forestaller was one who buys up the whole stock of goods before they are brought to market). Thomas Suteur, a Scots ship owner, was granted a safe conduct to travel into England in 1438. Johnne Soutare had part of the lands of Wester Banchreis in 1586, and John Suitor and John Sutter were laborers and joiners in Strathdee in 1527. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but most of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name.
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