Recorded in many forms including Talmasche, Talmadge, Talmage, Tallamach, Tolemarche, Tolemache, Tollemache, Tollmache, and others, this very interesting and unusual surname is English. It is however occupational and of pre 10th century Old French orgins. It derives from the word "talemache", meaning "one who carried a knap-sack", and therefore probably a soldier, although it is possible that it could also refer to a messenger or even a merchant. The word was introduced into England after the famous Conquest of 1066. Early examples of the surname recording include Hugo Talamasche in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Oxford in the year 1130, Robert Talemasche also of Oxfordshire in the Eynsham charters dated 1150, and William Talemach in the Ministers Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall in the year 1297. It is unclear as to when the spelling with an '0' crept into the name, but probably around Elizabethan times when the language was undergoing one of its periodical changes from Middle and Shakespearean English to more or less the forms we have today. 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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