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McKinley's Norfolk and Suffolk Surnames in the Middle Ages (1975) mentions GOTER as an occupational name, meaning "goatherd", this occurring in 15th century Norfolk.
In Suffolk, however, it appears as ATTE GOTER in 1327, and thus may have a topographical origin, being derived from residence besides a watercourse, or possibly, since the name occurs in NW Suffolk, dyke in the fens.
P.H. Reaney, on the other hand, also suggests a derivation from Old English GUTT/GUTTAS - in Middle English GUTT or GOTTE/GUTTES. Formerly in polite use, this described a corpulent or greedy person.
There is a remarkable frequency of occurrence of the surname GOTT in Lincolnshire / Cambridgeshire Fenland area. Boyd records a substantial GOT presence from 1564 through to 1834 at Holbeach; there are also marriages at the neighbouring parishes of Fleet, Whaplode St Mary, Sutton St Mary, Tydd St Mary and Tydd St Giles. Curiously, a parish within Tydd St Mary is known as Tydd Gote and an Ordnance Survey map gives the name Four Gotes.
During the Middle Ages, Norwich, a main provincial city, attracted migrants from Yorkshire, from places on or near the Humber, probably as a result of coastal trade between Norwich and the Humber ports. Some families, after a generation or two, moved into country districts. Thus Yorkshire surnames became established into Norfolk villages.
Incorrect recording of original names and poor transcription of old records add even more errors to the records.
Modern transcription of what has been written may not be correct, as various shortforms are used in earlier times to abbreviate the record. One of these is that there is sometimes a tail at the end of Gotte as in this record from 1572:
See the next page for modern examples