- This interesting and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a dialectal variant of Rochester, a locational name from places so called in either Kent or Northumberland. The place in Kent appears originally in the Saxon Charters of 445 as "Dorobrevi", from the British (pre-Roman), "duro" a stronghold, with "briva", a bridge, and later, circa 700, it was recorded in the Anglo Saxon Laws as "Hrofesceaster", or as "Hrofi", circa 730, in Bede's Ecclesiastical History; both deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hrof", roof, with "ceaster", city or walled town. The derivation of the place in Northumberland is possibly the Olde English "hroc", rook, appearing in the Fees of 1242 as "Rucestr"; hence, "the city of rooks". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname has the distinction of being first recorded in the Domesday Book (see below), and recordings from London Church Registers include the marriage of Mathew Rossiter and Frances Richmond on April 21st 1799, at St. George's, Hanover Square. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is on a silver shield an alligator in chief, the Crest being an eagle displayed with two heads proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Turoldus (de) Roucestra, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Essex, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.