Recorded in a number of spellings as shown below, this is an English surname, and one of the earliest ever recorded. Its true origin is Roman, deriving from the Latin word 'clemens' meaning merciful. It was probably introduced into England by the Norman-French at the famous conquest of 1066, a date from which most modern history is counted. As a personal name, there were few herediary surnames much before the year 1200, although this may be one of them, it was popular. This was because of the fame of St. Clement, a disciple of St. Paul. Later several popes selected the name for its symbolic values. Early examples of the name recordings include Clemens, a monk, in the records of St. Benets Abbey, Norfolk, in 1153, and Clemens filius Clementis, in the Curia Regis rolls for Essex in the year 1212. The first recording as a surname is shown below, and other early examples include John Clement in the Hundred Rolls of the landowners of the county of Norfolk in 1273, whilst Richard Clemence is listed in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshirein 1279. The spellings of the surname include Clem, Clemas, Clemes, Clement, Clements, Clemonts, Clemetts, Clemmens, Clemence, Climance, Clementson and Clemerson, whilst the Cornish versions include Clemo, Clemow, Climo, Clymo, and others. Amongst the interesting recordings associated with the surname are Thomas Clements who was one of the early emigrants to the American Colonies, leaving London on the ship "Abraham" in October 1635, bound for Virginia. The coat of arms was granted in Plymouth in 1620, and has the blazon of a silver field, charged two red bends wavy, and on a red chief, three gold estoiles. The crest is a gold griffin on a green mount. The first recorded spelling of the surname in any forms may be that of Robertus Clemens. This was dated 1155, in the Knight Templars (Crusader) rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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