Recorded in a number of spellings including Humber, Humbers, Humberston, Humberstone, and the dialectals Hamber, the rare Hambers, Hamberston and Hamberstone, this is a medieval English surname. It it either locational from residence by a river Humber, or from Humber village in Devonshire or Humberstone, villages in the counties in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. In Ancient British the word 'humber' meant a river or stream, and at one time as a many as half the rivers of the country were called 'humbers'. Today there are perhaps five of which the Yorkshire Humber is the only one which has any national importance. Locational and residential surnames were often given to people after they left their origin homestead and settled elsewhere, which often lead to the adoption of "sounds like" spellings. Early examples of the surname recording include Allice Humber, christened at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, on February 11th 1601, Hugh Humbertston of Upottery, Devon, on August 28th 1607, and Richard Hamber, at the village of Clapham, near Arundel in Sussex, on December 20th 1693. Martyne Humber was married at St Katherines by the Tower (of London), on July 13th 1586, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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