This most interesting surname has several possible origins. Firstly, it may have been a nickname from the Old French "flur", Middle English "flo(u)r", flower, which was a conventional term of endearment in medieval romantic poetry, and as early as the 14th Century it is regularly found as female given name. However, the name may also have been a metonymic occupational name for a miller or flour merchant, derived from the iddle English "flo(u)r", flour, which has the same origin as above, with the transferred sense "flower, pick of the meal". Finally, the surname may be an occupational name for an arrowsmith, from the Middle English "floer", a derivative of "flo", Olde English pre 7th Century "fla", arrow, an arrowsmith. The name is most popular in Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire (Bristol). The surname itself first appears in the early 13th Century (see below), while William Floere and John le Floer were mentioned in the Hundred Rolls of Devonshire in 1275; and Edmund Flour appears in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1313. Thomas Flower, aged 32 yrs., was an early emigrant to the plantations of "Virginea", travelling aboard the "Abraham" in 1635. A Coat of Arms granted to a Flower family, descended from William Flower, High Sheriff of Rutland in 1387, depicts an ermine cinquefoil on an ermines shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Flur, which was dated 1203, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.