Recorded in a wide variety of spellings including Scrimgeour, Scriminger, Scrymegour, Scrimger, Scriminger, Skrimshire, and Scrimshaw, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname of Old French origins. It is or rather was occupational and described a fencing master, one of the most distinguished occupations of medieval times, although not always quite so popular with the civil authorities. The derivation is from the French word "eskermir", meaning to fence or fight hand-to-hand. This was transposed to the Middle English "skrymsher" from which the surname is largely developed. Fencing-masters always found plentiful employment in medieval times, although the keeping of fencing-schools was forbidden in the city of London because of their dangerous influence. Early examples of the surname include: William Lescermissur of Suffolk in 1180, and Symon Leskirmisur of Essex in 1221. The family of Scrymegour held the position of hereditary standard-bearers of Scotland for at least three centuries, and for his services in this office, Sir Alexander Schyrmeschur was granted lands in Forfar in 1298, and later became Constable of the Castle of Dundee. Sir James Scrymgeour, a favourite of James V1, succeeded to the hereditary offices of standard-bearer in 1576, whilst John Scrymgeour, was created Earl of Dundee in 1660. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richer le Schirmissur, which was dated 1154, in the charter known as the "Documents relating to the Danelaw", for Lincolnshire. This was during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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