Origins of the Name

The surname appears to have arisen independently in different parts of Great Britain. Goacher families in Australia, New Zealand and parts of the USA and Canada can trace their ancestors back to Britain.  But there is also evidence that some American and Canadian Goacher families may be directly descended from emigrants from mainland Europe, for example France, Belgium and Germany.

The Goacher name has long established roots in the Sussex area of England.  The earliest reference found in Sussex is to a Radulfus Gochier in a 1485 Will.

In the English Midlands there are early Goacher families in the adjacent counties of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.  For example, in Nottinghamshire Goacher families occur in Parish records in the mid-1600s.

There are a number of different theories as to the origin of the name:
  • It was brought to Britain by French immigrants
  • It is a corruption of ‘good cheer’
  • It is derived from the occupation ‘goat herder’


British researchers believe that the Goachers were part of the Hugenot emigration from France to Britain at the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th Century. It is believed that they came as ironworkers. Iron was extensively worked in many areas of Sussex and the Midlands in the middle ages.

Early references in Sussex records include the spellings Gowghtier, Goltere, Gotier and Goachier, as well as Goacher, Gocher and Gotcher

The name Gautier is a still a common name in the St.Malo area of northern France. 

Cheerful Charlie

Reaney and Wilson in their book A Dictionary of British Surnames suggest that the origin of the name Goacher is from the Middle English “chere” and Old Fench “chier”. The phrase "gode chier" means "one of good aspect, cheerful appearance." Variations on the spelling are said to be goacher, goatcher, gochar, gocher, and goucher. The author (Reaney) calls this a nickname from physical characteristics.

Goat herder

R A McKinley, in his book "Surnames of Sussex" (1988) suggests a variety of alternative derivations: "There are references to goats being kept during the 13th Century, sometimes in considerable numbers, at Slindon and Aldingbourne, both of which are near Bury. Again, it seems possible that the surname GOATER or GOATCHER, which was present in the same part of Sussex during the 17th Century and later has evolved from GOTHERDE, but some of the forms in which GOATER appears in the 17th Century, such as GAUDER or GOTIER, suggest other origins."