This ancient surname is Anglo-Scottish. It is recorded in the spellings of Symson, Simson, and Simpson and has two distinct possible origins. The first and most generally accepted being a patronymic form of the medieval male name 'Simme', claimed to be a variant of the Greek 'Simon'. This is probably correct, and as such would have been introduced into Britain by the 12th century Crusaders. However it is also possible that 'Simme' was a short form of the pre 7th century Olde English 'Sigmund'. Either way early recordings of the surname include Johannes Symmeson, in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire, and John Simpson, in the Calverley charters of Yorkshire in 1397. The 'p' in the latter example is a dialectal intrusion, introduced to make for easier pronunciation. The name is first recorded in Scotland in 1405, when William Symsoun appears in the Edinburgh Burgess rolls, whilst in 1482 Wylzame Symptsun, so much for spelling, was declared innocent of detaining King James 111 (of Scotland) in Edinburgh Castle! It is also claimed that 'Simpson' may, in a few cases, be of locational origin from two hamlets of the same name in Buckinghamshire and Devonshire. These places appeared as "Swinestone" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and have as their first element the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Sigewine", plus "tun", - a settlement. An interesting recording relates to Thomas Simpson, who embarked on the ship 'Paule of London', bound for Virginia in July 1635, and thus was one of the earliest colonists to the New World. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Symmeson, which was dated 1353, who was witness in the Assize Court of Staffordshire, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The Father of the English Navy', 1327 - 1377. 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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