Recorded in a variety of spellings which include House, Howse, Hows, Hoose, Houseman, and the dialectals Housnam, and Housam, this interesting name is of pre 7th century Olde English origins. It was mainly an occupational surname for someone employed at, or with some connection with, the largest and most important building in the settlement. This may have been the local "great house" of a nobleman or the landowner, or a religious house, a monastery or convent. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. In some cases the name may have referred to a "householder", someone who owned his own dwelling as opposed to being a tenant. In the Middle Ages most of the population lived in huts or cottages rather than houses. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hus", house, and the surname was first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below), with John Houseman being recorded in the county of Essex in 1365. A recording from the surviving registers of Greater London is that of the marriage of Amie House and Phillip Foster on November 19th 1594, at the church known as St. Benet Fink in the old city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon Hus, which was dated 1226, in the "Eynsham Cartualry", Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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