Recorded in the spellings of Hamflett, Hamfleet and Hamflet, this is an English surname. It is topographical or possibly locational, originating from residence at a house or settlement on a low lying piece of meadow land, probably on the edge of a river. The derivation is probably from the Olde English words of the pre 7th century "ham-flete", the latter word meaning river. As to whether there ever was a place called Hamflete or of similar spelling we are unsure, although it is also possible that the name is a dialectal transposition of another name such as Hampnett, in Gloucestershire. At least three thousand British Isles surnames are known to have originated from now "lost" medieval sites, so whilst the background to this surname is unusual it is by no means uncommon. Locational surnames are also usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification, and nothing is much easier than calling them after the place from whence they originated. Spelling being at best problematical, and dialects very thick, often lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. In this case the surname is reasonably well recorded in the early surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London, and these include: John Hamflett, christened at St Giles Cripplegate on Christmas Day, 1755, and William Hamfleet, who married Sarah Grainger at St Leonards church, Shoreditch, on November 28th 1803.
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