This interesting surname is of English metonymic occupational origin for a keeper or breeder of horses, deriving from the old English pre 7th Century "stod" meaning stud plus "hierde" a herdsman or keeper. Prior to the 17th Century "stud" denoted a place where horses were kept for breeding as opposed to the latter day definition of a place where a collection of horses were bred by one person. The first element may also be the old English "stott" meaning an inferior kind of horse or bullock; hence "keeper of bullocks".The surname is first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below). One, William Stothard, appears in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire and John le Stothirde, is noted in the 1297 Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire. In the modern idiom, the surname has many variant spellings including Stothart, Stothert, Stuttard, Stoddard, Stothart, etc.. On July 30th 1679, the marriage of Elizabeth Stothard and Alexander Tomson took place at St. Katherine by the Tower, London and Charles, son of Thomas and Mary Stothard was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, on June 22nd 1692. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Stodhurd, which was dated 1219, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Northamptonshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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