This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Romsey in Hampshire. The placename is first recorded in the Saxon Charters of 966 as "Romeseye", and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Romesy". The placename means "Rum's island", derived from the genitive case of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Rum", a short form of compound names with the first element "rum", "wide", or "renown", with the Olde English word "ey", island or dry land in a fen. Locational names were given especially to those former inhabitants who left their homes to live or work in another area. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Romsey, Rumsey, Romsay and Rumsay. John de Romesy was noted in 1328, in Kirby's Quest for Somerset. A notable namebearer was Walter Rumsey (1584 - 1660), a Welsh judge for the counties of Brecknock, Glamorgan, and Radnor, who was nominated Knight of the Royal Oak in 1660. A Coat of Arms granted to a Rumsey family in the County of Brecon is a shield divided quarterly first and fourth, gold, a red fess with a label of four silver points in chief; and second and third, silver, with a cinquefoil within an ermine bordure. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Romesy, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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