This is one of the most interesting surnames on the Old English Register. It is both habitational and occupational, and found in many variant spellings, and yet is specifically recorded in the Staffordshire region. The derivation is from the pre 7th Century "Sceamol", a word which describes the butchers quarter of a town, and is today normally known as "The Shambles", as in York, Chesterfield and Huddesfield. There does not appear to be any English town or city with an area called "The Sceamol" but it is probable that the City of Stafford may have had such a quarter in medieval Times.The name recordings include the following examples, and illustrate the continuous changing structure of the spelling: Anna Shelmelt, who married Wilelmus Hill at Milwich, Staffordshire, on April 25th 1626, whilst David Shemilt married Mary Titley at Checkly, Staffordshire, on June 27th 1741. Another example was that of the christening of Ellen Shemild at Checkly, on March 4th 1753. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ricarde Semelte, which was dated September 22nd 1578, christened at Ellastone, Staffordshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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