This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a regional name either from the southern English county thus called, or from Hallamshire, an ancient lordship in the West Riding of Yorkshire, now represented by the parishes of Sheffield and Ecclesfield. The latter place, recorded as "Hallum" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Halumsira" in the Yorkshire Charters, dated 1161, is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "halum", the dative plural of "hall", rock, stone, with the addition of "scir", shire, division, administrative district. Hampshire, mentioned as "Hamtunscir" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, dated 755, derives its name from the Olde English "hamm", river land, water meadow, with "tun", settlement, and "scir", district. The county of Hampshire was named from the town and port of Hampton, now called Southampton. Early examples of the surname include: Thomas de Hallumschire (Yorkshire, 1296); John Hamschyer (Yorkshire, 1507); and Thomas Hamshere (Kent, 1523). On May 12th 1613, Jone Hampshire and James Harryson were married at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Hamptessire, which was dated 1296, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex", 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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