This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places so called. It derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hramsa" meaning wild garlic, or possibly the genitive case of the Olde English byname "Ram(m)" meaning Ram, plus "denu", valley. There are villages called Ramsden Essex, Kent, Oxfordshire, and Warwickshire, but the surname is most widespread in Yorkshire. "Ramsden" in the parish of Kirkburton being a well-recorded instance. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below). Early recordings include John de Rammesdenne (1334 - 1335) in the Subsidy Rolls of Kent. Church Records list the marriage of Robart Ramsden to Margaret Lister on July 18th 1547 in Halifax, Yorkshire, and of Humfraye Ramsdon to Alys Sleepons on April 19th 1562 at St. Dionis Backchurch, London. A Coat of Arms granted to a Ramsden family is silver, on a chevron between three black fleurs-de-lis, three silver rams heads erased. The Crest is an armed arm couped at the elbow and erect proper holding in the hand a black fleur-de-lis. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Rammesden, which was dated 1195, in the "Feet of Fines of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "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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