This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor or unrecorded place, perhaps a lost village. There are an estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from Britain since the 12th Century; the prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool-trade in the 15th Century, and natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. The original place is believed to have been situated in Wiltshire, because of the large number of early recordings in that region, and the component elements of the placename are the Olde English pre 7th Century "sump(t)", swamp, and "tun", enclosure, homestead, village; hence, "homestead by the swamp". It has also been suggested that the surname is a variant of the given name "Samson", from the Hebrew "Shimson", a diminutive of "shemesh", sun. Among Christians the name may have been chosen as a given name or nickname in direct reference to the great strength of the biblical character. In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings ranging from Sampson, Samson and Sumshon, to Sumption, Sumpton and Sumsion. On January 26th 1607, William Sumption married Frances Bennett at Lacock, Wiltshire, and Christian, daughter of Samuell and Christian Sumsion, was christened at Corsham, Wiltshire, on December 17th 1666. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Samson, which was dated 1130, in the "Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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