The surname of GOMME was derived from the Old English word 'guma', and it was a nickname for an old man. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention Henry le Gome, 1275, County Worcestershire. Walter Gomme was documented in County Cornwall in 1297. Nicholas Gume was documented in the year 1327 in County Suffolk. Edward Gumme of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name has many variant spellings which include Gumme, Gom and Gomme. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. The associated coat of arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (The arms of Field-Marshal Sir William Maynard Gomm G.C.B is the same, but had supporters granted in 1859. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Arms registered at Clerkenwell, County Middlesex. Granted 24th January, 1761.
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