This distinguished surname, having no less than ten Coats of Arms, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from Ramsey, a market-town and parish in Huntingdonshire, or from the parish and village of Ramsey, south west of Harwich in Essex. The former place, recorded as "Hramesege" in the Saxon Chartulary, dated circa 1000, is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hramsa", wild garlic, ramson, with "eg", island, piece of firm land in a fen, or land situated between streams; hence, "Wild garlic island". The latter place, appearing as "Rameseia" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Rammesye" in the 1224 Feet of Fines for Essex, shares the same meaning and derivation. The surname has the distinction of being first recorded in the early 11th Century, prior to the Domesday Book. Simundus de Ramesie, the first of the name in Scotland, was a Norman baron from Huntingdonshire, England, who was granted lands in Midlothian by David, Earl of Huntingdon, and brother of Alexander 1 of Scotland, circa 1140. Another, Neis de Ramsey, physician to King Alexander 11, was granted lands near Banff in 1232. On February 20th 1603, Anttony Ramsey and An(n) Wickes were married at St. Mary Magdalen, Richmond, Surrey. A Coat of Arms granted to the Ramsey family of Buckinghamshire in the reign of Richard 11 (1377 - 1399) is a black shield with a chevron between three rams' heads couped argent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aethelstanus de Rameseia, which was dated circa 1036, in the "Old English Byname Register", Essex, during the reign of King Harold or Harefoot, known as the Dane, 1035 - 1040. 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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