This most interesting surname is of Old French origin, and is a peculiarly Cornish form of "Clement", which itself is found widespread in England and the Netherlands, and derives from the French personal name "Clement", from the Latin "Clemens", meaning mild, merciful. Clement itself became popular as a result of being borne by an early saint who was a disciple of St. Paul, and later because it was selected as a symbolic name by a number of early popes. The pet form "Clem" is found in the Hundred Rolls in 1273. Other variants of Clemo found in the modern idiom include Clemow, Clemmow and Climo, as well as Clyma, Clymo, Climous and Clemmoe. The surname first appears in the mid 16th Century (see below), while William Clement is recorded in the Register of Knights Templars in 12th Century England, in Oxfordshire in 1153. Other early examples of the surname include: the christening of Elizabeth Clymoe at St. Columb Major, Cornwall, on April 4th 1546; the christening of Alse Clemow at St. Columb Major, on August 23rd 1550; the marriage of Jacobus Clymow and Jeneta Penpoll at Crawtock, Cornwall, on April 25th 1561, and the christening of Jeis, son of Nicholas Clemo, on January 28th 1601, at Feock, Cornwall. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Clemmowe, which was dated 1544, a christening witness, in the Church Register of St. Columb Major, Cornwall, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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