This name, with variant spelling Lambe, has three possible origins, the first being a metonymic occupational name for a keeper of Lambs deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "lamb" meaning "lamb". Alternatively, Lamb(e) may have originated as a nickname for a gentle, inoffensive person, or it may have been given as a pet form of the Medieval English personal name Lambert, from the Old German elements "land", territory, plus "berht", bright. The surname was first recorded towards the end of the 12th Century, (see below). One William le Lambe appears in "The Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", dated 1273, and a Lambe de Harewude in the Manorial Records of Sheffield, Yorkshire, (1290). Occasionally, the name may derive from residence at the sign of the (pascal) lamb as in William atte Lamme, (1320). A famous bearer of the name was Charles Lamb (1775 - 1834), essayist and humorist, who published "Tales from Shakespeare", (1807), miscellaneous prose writings, (1818) and twenty-five essays, signed "Elia", between August 1820 and December 1822. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aedward Lamb, which was dated 1195, in the "Pipe Rolls of kent", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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