Recorded as Camp, Campe, Cham, Champ, and Champe, this unusual and interesting name is English, but of Norman-French origin. It is almost certainly a topographical surname which denoted someone who lived in or near an expanse of open country, or possibly near the site of a known Roman fort or 'camp'. The derivation is from the Old French word "champ", meaning field or open land, itself from the original Latin "campus". As a surname it could also apply to someone who lived in the countryside as opposed to a town. There are many European variations of the name, in French Campe, Delcamp, Dechamps, in Italian Campi, Campari, Camponetti, in Germany Kampler, and so on. Early examples of the surname recording include Alyce Cham, the daughter of Richard Cham, who was christened at the church of St Lawrence Jewry in the city of London on May 20th 1541, whilst Abell Champ was married to Thomas Stokes, at the church of St. Katherine's by the Tower (of London), on the 2nd February 1634. John Champ was one of the very first colonists in New England, being recorded as 'living at St. James Cittee, Virginea, on February 16th 1623'. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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