There are two possible sources of this interesting and unusual Medieval English name, the first and most likely being that it is a nickname surname for a merry or sporty person, fond of or good at games. The derivation of this surname is from the Old English pre 7th Century "gamen", amusement, and was also given to the winner of "the gamey" the prize in a foot race, "men usen offe this game en, that two men...... rennen a space for a priis, and he that cometh first to his ende shall have the gamen that is sett, whether it be spere or gloves or othir thing that is putt".(circa 1380, New English Dictionary). However, it may also be a nickname for someone with a peculiar gait, a derivative of "gambe", the Norman form of the French "Jambe", meaning leg. Timothy Gammons married Mary Hughes on October 20th 1838, at Christchurch, Greyfriars, Newgate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Gamen, which was dated 1251, Feet of Fines, Essex, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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