This unusual and interesting name has a number of possible origin. Firstly, it can be one of the metronymic forms of the medieval English and French female given name "Cla(i)re", in Latin "Clara", from "clarus", famous, where the modern surname derives from the name of the first namebearer's mother, which could be found as "Clare", "Clear(e)", Cleer(e) and "Clere", as in Gilbert filius (son of) Cler, recorded in the Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls of 1279. Secondly the modern surname may be locational in origin, where the forms "clears" and "Cleares" are the genitives, meaning "of" the place, which can be "Clare" in Suffolk, so called from an ancient British river name meaning "bright" or "gentle, warm", or from "Clere" in Hampshire which has the same derivation. The other locational origin is "Clare" in Oxfordshire, so called from the Old English pre 7th Century "claeg", day and "ora", slope. Martha Clears married John Gant on the 12th October 1778 at Tostock, in Suffolk. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Clere, which was dated 1279, in the "Huntingdonshire Hundred Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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