This interesting surname, with over one hundred differing spellings ranging from Clemens, Clemons and Climance, to Clemitt, Klima, Klimkiewicz and Miettinen, derives from the Roman (Latin) "Clemens" meaning "merciful". An early saint who was a disciple of St. Paul bore the name, and it was selected by a number of early popes, no less than eleven Clements having been elected by the year 1046. Although predominently a male name, there is little doubt that many nameholders do originate from the female "Clementia" meaning mercy. Surnames from female names or specifically female landowners of the medieval period, are quite popular, and include forms of Mary, Joan, and Elizabeth. With this surname the earliest surviving records are in England, the first country in the world to adopt hereditary surnames. Examples include Clemens Monachus, Clememt the monk, in the 1152 register of St. Benet's abbey, at Holme, in the county of Norfolk, and Richard Clement, a Knight Templar, of Oxford in 1153. Other recordings include Richard Clemmence in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Huntingdonshire, and Robert Clymant in Sussex in 1327, whilst in Germany Leonard Klement was recorded in the charters of the city of Ulm in the year 1482. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere is believed to be that of William Clement, which was dated 1150, in the Knight Templar register of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England. He was known as "The church builder", and reigned from 1154 to 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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