This interesting and unusual surname is of early medieval English and Old French origin, thought to have been introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. Clemits is one of the patronymic forms of the surname from the male given name Clement, adopted from the Latin "clemens", merciful, mild. The personal name was popular in England from the mid 12th Century on, partly due to the fame of St. Clement, a disciple of St. Paul, and later because a number of early popes selected the name Clement for its symbolic values. There has been some confusion with the original distinct male given name "Clemence", also used as a female name, from the Latin "clementia", mercy. The personal names are recorded as "Clemens" in the 1153 Records of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk, and "Clementia" in the 1162 Documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire. Richard Clemence is listed in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire. The patronymic forms of Clement range from Clements, Clemon(t)s, Clemetts and Clem(m)ens, to Clemence, Clemit(t)s and Clemen(t)son. On October 11th 1723, William, son of John Clemitts, was christened at Coffinswell, Devonshire, and Marie, daughter of John Clemits, was christened in the same place, on June 10th 1728. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robertus Clemens, which was dated 1155, in the "Records of the Templars in England", Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "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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