Tame

Tame - what does Tame surname mean?

This interesting and long-established surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Tame may be a habitational name either from the parish of Thame in Oxfordshire, recorded as `Tame` both in the Saxon Chronicle, dated 971, and in the Domesday Book of 1086, or from residence by the river of that name in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, noted as `Tame strem` in the Chartulary of the Monastery of St. Frideswide, Oxfordshire, dated 1004. The word has an ancient origin, coming from the British (pre-Roman) `dark river`, related to the Old Celtic `tam`, Old Irish `teman`, dark, Sanskrit `tamas`, darkness. Habitational surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural features in the landscape, and specific village names, provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages. One John de Tame and a Robert de Tame were recorded respectively in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. There are also rivers called Tame in the northern English counties of Yorkshire and Staffordshire, but early surname recordings from these counties are lacking. The second primary source of the name is the Middle English `tame` (Olde English pre 7th Century `tam`), tame, domesticated, given as a nickname to a quiet and gentle person. One Edward Tame was recorded in the Close Rolls of London, dated 1536. A dramatic Coat of Arms held by the Tame family depicts a green dragon and an azure lion rampant combatant, crowned gold, on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Claricia de Tame, which was dated 1273, in the `Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire`, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as `The Hammer of the Scots`, 1272 - 1307. 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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