Recorded as Bamel, Bamell, Bamkin, Bampkin, Bamlet, Bamlett, and possibly others, this is an English medieval diminutive surname. Meaning Little Bam or perhaps close relation of Bam, it is believed to originate from the Olde English personal name "Bebbe." This is recorded in the place name Bamborough, recorded in pre 7th century times as Beebanburgh. Bebbe was apparently the wife of King Ida of Northumberland, and the castle was named in her honour. The surname is therefore a very rare survivor of an original English name. Most were lost in the successive invasions by the Anglo-Saxons, The Vikings, and finally the Normans, although the greatest damage was done by the introduction of Christian (Hebrew) names by the returning Crusader Knights of the 12th century. This surname is quite rare in all its spellings, and perhaps more surprisingly given its age, is not apparently recorded in any of the dictionaries of surnames of the British Isles written in the past one hundred and fifty years. The intusive "p" when it appears, was an aid to pronunciation at a time of language change, and is the same as Thompson. Examples of recordings in surviving church registers of the city of London include Jone Bamlett who married Richard Dixon at St Michael Bassishaw, on June 23rd 1594, John Bampkin, christened at St Mary Whitechapel, on October 23rd 1767, and William Bamell, christened at St Thomas, Charterhouse, on April 10th 1857.
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