Both given name and surname of HAMBLEY have always been most common in Cornwall; bearers of the name HAMLIN were recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, as holding 23 manors in Cornwall. A Devon family called HAMLYN trace their descent from Richard HAMLYN, recorded at Larkbear, Devon in 1219. Sir John HAMELLY (born in 1235) served as Sheriff of Cornwall in 1307. The name has many variant spellings which include HAMBLY, HAMVLEY, HAMBLI, HAMBLYN and HAMELLY. Cornish naming practices are unfortunately poorly documented for the Middle Ages, but present day Cornish surnames, somewhat surprisingly, do not follow the predominantly patronymic pattern of the other Celtic languages, including Welsh. This may be attributed to the greater influence of the English bureaucracy and English naming practices in Cornwall than in Wales at the time when surnames came into use. The majority of Cornish names are habitation names and others are derived from medieval given names. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. A notable member of this name was Hannibal HAMLIN (l809-9l) American statesman, born in Paris, Maine. He practised law (l833-48) was speaker of the Maine house of representatives, and was returned to Congress in l842 and l844. He sat in the US senate as a Democrat (l848-l857) when he was elected governor by the Republicans, having separated from his party over his anti-slavery opinions. In the same year, l857, he resigned to return to the senate and in l86l became vice-president under Lincoln. He was in the senate again (l869-8l) and was minister to Spain (l88l-2).
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