This surname CHRISTMAS seems to have originated in East Anglia and has been common in Colchester from relatively an early period. Other concentrations of the name are all in the south of England in Devon, Dorset, Kent, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex. One family can be traced in County Waterford, Ireland, between 1622 and the end of the 19th century. The name was originally derived from the Old English word Cristesmoesse, and it was given as a nickname for someone born on Christmas Day, or who had some other particular association with that time of the year.
Early records of the name mention Ralph Cristemesse, who was recorded in 1185 in County Essex, and Roger Cristemasse appears in County Suffolk in the year 1191. Richard Cristemesse was documented in London in the year 1308. Richard Cristemesse of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name mention Thomas Christmas and Dorothy Leslie, who were married in London in 1626, and William Harborte, married Elizabeth Christmas at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in 1626.
In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered in London.
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