After the 1066 Norman Conquest, French was given the status of the official language of Britain, and so it remained for three hundred years. However, the British being no better at foreign languages and in particular pronunciation, then as now, "Anglicized" the French to their own version of patois. In the case of "Element" we have the supreme irony of the English version of the French word for a German! "Element" is a derived form of "Alemaund". The surname is also recorded as Allmand, Almand, Almond, Allimant, Allamand, and Ellement, and the relative popularity suggests that the word was also applied to some at least of the famous "Flemish Weavers" of the 13th Century, who were perhaps mistaken for Germans. The name development and recordings include Joane Ellement, baptised at West Manningfield, Essex on July 1st 1581, and Simon Element, who witnessed the christening of his son, John, at Hatley St. George, Cambridgeshire, on December 17th 1643. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Almene, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", 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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