Recorded in several spellings including Tampen, Tampion, Tampin, Temping, Tompion, and others, this is an unusual surname. Like Tamlin and Tamplin, it is a diminutive of the Middle English and Scottish personal name Tam or Tom or Thom, the intrusive "p" when it occurs, being an aid to pronunciation in some parts of the county. In Generally the personal name was a Crusader introduction after the 12th century, and rapidly achieved great popularity thoughout England, Scotland and Wales, generally as Thomas, Thomson and in Scotland Tamson. The name means "The twin" in Hebrew, and prior to the various crusades to the Holy Land in the medieval period, was generally only recorded as a priests name in the British Isles. As Tompion it is one of the most famous of all surnames, with Thomas Tompion (1639 - 1713) being regarded as the father of English watch making. It is said that before he came into prominence in 1675, only the continent was considered to have the necessary skills, but (quote) 'he left English watches and clocks as the finest in the world.' His clock in the Pump Room at Bath, installed in 1709, is still in excellent working order. Amongst the early recordings is that of Peter Tampeyn of Suffolk in the Hundred Roll of 1327, and John Tampion at St Vedast church, Foster Row, city of London, on August 30th 1592.
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