Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this surname is of Scottish origins. It is locational and the first charters refers to 'lie Middlemestlands in villa et territori de Calco' near to the town of Kelso, in the famous Border region. The meaning is obscure. A derivation has been claimed from the word 'middlemast' meaning the centre mast on a ship, which is clearly at best unlikely, although a derivation from Middlemore, and meaning the middle of the moor, is quite feasible'. A second explanation is that it may have been a nickname or a baptismal name for someone born at Michaelmas, the feast of St. Michael on September 29th. Early examples of recordings include William Myddilmast, the vicar of Lynton near Peebles in 1439, and John Myddilmest, who witnessed a charter by Robert, the abbot of Kelso in 1497. The spelling forms include Middlemass, Middlemass, Middlemiss, Middlemost, Midlemas, and Middlemas. Church register recordings include Elizabeth Midlemess who was christened at Edinburgh on July 27th 1673 and Thomas Middlemist who married Ann Yewbanck at St. Mary le Bone, London on May 25th 1688. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Meldiemast, abbot of Kelso. This was dated 1406, in the Papal Register relating to Great Britain and Ireland', during the reign of King James 1st of Scotland, 1406 - 1437. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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