This unusual surname, widely recorded in Yorkshire Church Registers from the late 16th Century, is ultimately believed to be of locational origin from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place called Cam(b)lesham, originally situated in Yorkshire or in one of its surrounding counties. The component elements of the placename are the Welsh or Gaelic "cam", crooked, with "glas", stream, and the Anglo-Saxon "-ham", enclosure, settlement; hence, "settlement by the winding stream". Camblesforth near Selby in the West Riding of Yorkshire, recorded as "Camelesforde" in the Domesday Book of 1086, also has the Welsh "cam(g)las" as its initial element, with the Anglo-Saxon "-ford", ford, as its second. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently produced several variations on the original spelling of the name, which, in the modern idiom, is found as Campleshom, Camplesham, Camplejohn and Camplijohn. On March 20th 1711, Robert, son of Miles Camplejohn, was christened at Riccall, Yorkshire. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a silver shield with a fess azure, fretty gold, between a lion passant in chief and three crosses crosslet fitchee in base gules. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Campleshon, which was dated May 14th 1598, a christening witness, at St. Michael Spurriergate, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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