Recorded as Sermon, Serman, Sermoner, Sirman, Sirmon, Sirmond, Surman, Surmon and possibly others, this is an English medieval surname although one of French origins. It was originally occupational for a travelling preacher, holy man, or public speaker, or perhaps given the robust humour of those far off times, a nickname for a person with a tendency to be verbose! The derivation is from the Olde French word sermon, meaning speech or discourse. It was introduced into the British Isles at the famous Norman Conquest of England in 1066, when for the following three centuries French was the official and business language of the country.Examples of church recordings from the city of London include James Sirmon christened on November 27th 1668 at St. Botolph's without Aldgate, and Benjamin Surman christened on July 7th 1692 at Christ Church Southwark. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Sermoner. This was dated 1212, in the Curia Regis Rolls of the county of Hertfordshire, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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