This most interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and ultimately derives from the Hebrew personal name "Shimeon", one who harkens. In English versions of the Old Testament the name appears as "Shimeon" and "Simon", and in the New Testament generally takes the form of "Simon", partly as a result of association with the pre-existing Greek byname "Simon", from "simos", snub-nosed. Simon became a popular name, no doubt because of its associations with the Apostle Simon Peter, the brother of Andrew. Simon Magus, also mentioned in the New Testament, tried to buy the power of working miracles; hence the word "simony", meaning an attempt to obtain a position in the Church by bribery. The first recording of Simon as a personal name in England is in the 1134 Records of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk. Simons itself is a patronymic of Simon, while other patronymics include Simmonds, Simeons, Symmons (Devon), Simmins, Simondson, Simyson and Fitzsimmons. Joseph Simons (1594 - 1671) was provincial of the English Jesuits from 1667 to 1671, and reconciled James, Duke of York to the Roman Catholic Church in 1669. Richard Simons was transported to the Barbadoes in 1685 as one of Monmouth's convicted rebels. A Coat of Arms was granted to William Simons of Ullesthorpe, Leicestershire, which depicts a gold wing between three silver roses on a red shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Simond, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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