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The name Cater is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Great Britain. The name was taken on by someone who worked as a caterer. The surname Cater was official name, "the cater", derived from the Old French ale catour, a little meaning a buyer of groceries for the gentleman's house. They were in charge of maintaining provisions in minors and castles. The cater's job assumed a great importance during extended sieges of his lord's castle, which could last for years.

English: occupational name for the buyer of provisions for a large household, from a reduced form of Anglo-Norman French acatour (Late Latin acceptator, an agent derivative of acceptare ‘to accept’). Modern English caterer results from the addition of a second agent suffix to the word.

Slovenian (Cater): status name for a person who read out the Slovenian ceremonial text at the installation of the Carantanian rulers and, later, Carinthian dukes, derived from the dialect verb catiti ‘to read’. Carantania was the early medieval Slovenian state on the territory of present-day Carinthia and Styria, now divided between Austria and Slovenia. The people’s installation of the Carantanian rulers was an exceptional example of democratic elections in medieval Europe. Thomas Jefferson knew about it and was influenced by it in his thinking about American Independence. Perhaps also an Americanized spelling of German Köter.

This family is also spread to the other countries for several reasons: the conquest of the British in other continents such as Asia, and another family moving overseas, especially America where so many this family living in that country.


The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest. The names introduced into Britain by the Normans are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror included some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, but others were adventurers possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property.

Early records of the name mention William le Catur who was documented in the year 1273 in the County of Essex and Bernard le Acatour was documented in the year 1300 in County Somerset. Thomas Cater was documented in County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III of England. William Katerer of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Henry Cater and Joan Powlter were married at St. James, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1569 .

The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burke's General Armoury.

List of the Cater[edit]


Cater also refers to the name of a European Project:

  • CATER Project aiming at mass customization of vehicle funded under the FP6 program

Cater is also an old Kentish expression meaning 'diagonal' (Kent is a county in southern England). There used to be many apple orchards in the so-called 'garden of England', consisting of parallel rows of apple trees. A picker would normally progress through the orchard along each row. However, if he were to progress diagonally through the orchard, he would be doing it 'on the cater'.