Recorded as Patman and Pateman, this interesting surname is early medieval English. It is an occupational compound for a friend or manager of a person called Pate. This was a medieval male given name which had two possible origins. Firstly, Pate may be a nickname form of Patrick, from the Latin word "Patricius", meaning the son of a noble father, a member of the patrician class, the Roman hereditary aristocracy. This name was borne by a 5th century Romano-Briton, who became the Apostle of Ireland, and its popularity in the Middle Ages was largely due to his fame.Secondly, Pate may have originated as a nickname for a bald man, from the medieval word "pate", meaning head or skull. One Osbert Pate appears in the Olde English Byname Register for Devonshire, dated 1100 - 1130. The suffix "man", has many different meanings dependant on the particular circumstances which applied at the time that it was bestowed. An early example taken from surviving church registers in the city of London was that of Margaret Pateman and Nicholas Damp who were married at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, on July 26th 1595. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jordan Pateman. This was dated 1219, in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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