This most interesting and curious surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, with two possible interpretations. The name may be of locational origin, from Hampshire, a regional name from the Southern England county, which derives its name from Hampton (that is, the port of Southampton), composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "hamm", water meadow, and "-tun", an enclosure, settlement, plus the Olde English "scir", division, district. Secondly, the name may derive from the regional name Hallamshire in South Yorkshire, so called from "hallam", from "hall", stone, rock, and the Olde English "scir", as above, which is popular in Yorkshire. Other surnames from these two sources include Hampshere, Hamshar, Ham(p)shaw and Hampshire, while the first recorded spelling (see below) comes from the latter source. Richard de Halumpschyre is recorded in 1348, in documents published in the "Journal of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society", and the Register of the Freemen of York City included John Hamshaw in 1506. Joseph Hamsher married Mary James on September 10th 1782, at St. Mary's, Marylebone, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Hallumschire, which was dated 1296, in the "Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield", Yorkshire, 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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