Recorded as Hampstead, Hamstead, Hempstead, Hemsted and others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from any or all of the various places called Hampstead, or double barrelled versions such as Hampstead Marshall in Berkshire, Hampstead Norris in Hertfordshire, as well as the famous Hampstead with its heath, in Middlesex, and Hamstead in the county of Northumberland. All seem to have been recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 and generally as the pre 7th century Olde English "hamstede", meaning the homestead, or perhaps the manor house. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say surnames given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. The alternative to this was when the place was also occupied by the lord of the manor, and to ensure there was no doubt in this respect it became the fashion to add a second name or in the case of Hampstead Marshall, a title, the village being the property of the Earl Marshall of England, whilst Hampstead Norris was sold in 1450 to one John Norreys. Hampstead in Middlesex was first recorded in th year 959 a.d. in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, making it one of th very earliest of surviving recordings. It is unclear when the surname was first recorded. It has one of the very earliest coats of arms being Gules, a chief Argent, but we do not have a date. Recordings in early surviving church registers of Greater London include Margery Hempstead who maried Robert Atkynson at St Gregory's by St Paul's Cathedral, on July 29th 1576, and George Hampstead or Hamstead, at St James Clerkenwell, on August 5th 1621.
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