This interesting English medieval surname with spellings which include: Bold, Bolder, Bolt, Bolter, Boulter, Bulter and Boulder, may derive from a number of possible sources. Firstly, it may be of topographical origin for a person who resides at a boll or small farm. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Old Danish element "bol", and was found in areas particularly the North West where the Scandinavian influence was particularly strong. Secondly the name may be occupational and denoting a sifter of meats, from the Old French "boulter", meaning in effect a cook or chef. King Henry V1 is recorded as having "six bulters" in his household. Thirdly it can be occupational for a maker of arrows and bolts, from the Middle English word "bolt". Finally, it may have originated as a nickname for a short, but powerfully built person, from the Old Norse personal name "Boltr". Early examples of the surname include Walter Bolt in the Curia Rolls of Surrey in 1202, and John Boltor in the Somerset rolls known as "Kirby's Quest," and dated 1272. Ricardus Bultere is recorded in the poll tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, and Dorothy Bowlter or Boulter at St James church, Clerkenwell, in the city of London, in 1573. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Godinc Bolt. This was dated 1086, in the rolls known as the Inquisitio Commitatus Cantabrigiensis, during the reign of King William 1st, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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