This is an English surname recorded in the spellings of Nutbeam, Nutbeem, and Nutbeen. The origins are pre 7th century and certainly locational, but probably occupational as well, deriving from ownership or management of an area of 'nut bearing' trees. 'Nuts' formed an important part of the ancient diet particularly in winter, when fresh food of all kinds was difficult to procure, and in anycase the range of available vegetables was very limited. The derivation is from the phrase 'hnutbeam', the silent 'h' being the forerunner of the later silent 'k' of medieval times. There is a village called Nutbane, near Weyhill, in Hampshire, and it is probable that some modern nameholders do derive from this source. The village of Nutbourne in Sussex may also be a name source, although in this case the meaning is quite different being from the Viking 'Nord-burna', the North stream. Early examples of the surname recording include John atte Notbeme in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Hampshire, and William atte Nhutbyme of Sussex in the Subsidy Rolls of the year 1332. The name has always been rare, however an example from Victorian times is that of Henry Nutbeam of Southampton who in 1890 was charged with 'illegally interfering with the police'. It seems that he was a union official who authorised a strike. The charge was dismissed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John atte Notebem, which was dated 1273, the Hundred Rolls of the county of Oxford, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as 'The hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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