Recorded as Clamp and Clampe in England and as Klamp in Germany, this is a surname of pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon origins. It is one of a group of names whose etymology is uncertain or at least open to several possible interpretations. The most likely source is that it would seem to have been a nickname for a person of great strength, one who had a vice like handshake for instance, or given the robust humour of the medieval period, the complete reverse! Alternatively it may have been an occupational name for someone who used a "clamp", or even topographical for someone who lived by a clamp. As such the name might have described a smith or ironworker, clamps or vices being used in all engineering since Egyptian times to grip the work piece, or it could refer to a medieval agricultural practise where catle fodder in the main was stored in clamps. These were, and when still in use are, large open stores formed by banks or fencing, insulated with straw, and by this method it was possible to preserve feed stocks over the winter period. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from various registers include Richard Clampe, at the church of St Mary Magdalene in the city of London, on February 8th 1556, and in Germany Albert Klamp appears in the charters of Ostholstein in 1616.
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