This is a very unusual name, not least because it probably does actually mean what it says! The original Mr. Bearman may well have been (literally) a bear-keeper, one who trained a bear to dance, or who provided bears for the popular medieval "amusement" of baiting bears with dogs. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. It is also possible that the name is an obscure nickname for a clumsy person, but assuming that the nameholder was not a "keeper", may refer to somebody who was a friend or servant of "Bur".In this case "Bur" or "Bear" would possibly have been a personal name which developed from the Germanic "Bernhard", or the Olde English pre 7th Century "Beer", meaning "a place". Pre 7th Century Anglo-Saxon, and Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War, or composed of disparate elements. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Edward Bearman and Elizabeth Trehearne at St. Margaret's, Westminster, on January 27th 1615, and the marriage of Edward Bearman and Ann Maria Knight at St. James' Church, Paddington, on February 7th 1855. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Bureman, which was dated 1204, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.
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