This interesting surname is occupational, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "cyse" or cese" meaning cheese plus "mann" a servant or worker; hence "a maker or seller of cheese". The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century, (see below). One Henry le Cheseman, appears in the Assize Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire (1260), and Robert le Chesemaker, is noted in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire (1275). In the modern idiom the surname has numerous variant spellings including cheeseman, Cheasman, Ches(e)man, Chessman, Chiesman, Chisman, Chismon, etc.. Early recordings of the surname from London church registers include; the marriage of Ellen Chesman to John Edwards on October 23rd 1568, at St. Botolph Bishopsgate; John son of Edward Cheesman, was christened on April 21st 1577, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; and on September 20th 1591, Elizabeth Cheesman married Richard Nicholls in the same place. A coat of arms granted to the Cheesman family consists of a silver and black shield, divided vertically by an embattled line with three countercharged peirced stars on each side and a right hand holding a royal crown proper on the crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Baldwin le Chesemangere, which was dated 1186, The Pipe Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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