Recorded in the spellings of Ramsay and Ramsey, this ancient and noble surname is of both pre 8th century a.d., Anglo-Saxon and Scottish origins. In all spellings it is locational either from places in Huntingdonshire and Essex or from the lands of Ramsey in the parish of Whithorn, in the former county of Wigtown, Scotland. There are also two possible meanings, the first being the island where garlick (harmsa) was grown or the fenced enclosure of the male sheep, rams. In both cases the origin is Olde English, Wigtown being part of the former English speaking kingdom of Strathclyde. The first bearer of the name in Scotland was Simundus de Ramsia. He was a Norman baron from Huntingdonshire in England, who was a retainer of David, Earl of Huntingdon, the brother of King Alexander 1 of Scotland (1107 - 1124). Another family of the same name have possessed lands in North East Scotland in the direct male line since the 13th Century. These lands, near Banff, were granted in 1232, to Neis de Ramsey, who was physician to King Alexander 11 of Scotland. Not so fortunate was Sir William Ramsay who was apparently starved to death in Hermitage Castle in 1342. Somewhat later in London, was the recording on February 19th 1567 of Anne Ramsay, the daughter of John Ramsay, christened at St. Leonard's church, in the city. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aedelstanus de Ramesia, which was dated 1036, in register known as the "Olde English bynames list" for the county of Essex, in the reign of Harold Harefoot of England, 1035 - 1040.
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