Recorded as Ramstead, Ramsted and even on one occasion Ramstedt, this is an English surname. It is locational from what is now apparently a 'lost' medieval village. As to where this place was is unclear, but it is known that over three thousand surnames of the British Isles do originate from now lost places, of which the only public reminder, is the surname itself. The meanining is less obscure. Most villages or towns whose name commences with the word 'ram' are to be found in the South and South East. The reason is that the prefix does not refer to a male sheep, but to the pre 7th century word 'hramsa' meaning garlic! This popular French herb was in past times equally popular in the British Isles and was 'farmed' throughout the county but more particularly in the south. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. In this case the surname is fairly well recorded in the surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London. These recordings include Miles Ramsted at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 16th 1622, and Elizabeth Ramsted who married John Sibley at St Leonards Shoreditch, on June 3rd 1850.
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