Hammond Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Hammond Surname Meaning

Hammond was a name introduced to England by the Normans. Its origin was from one of a number of personal names at that time – the Norman Hamo or Hamon or the Old Norse Hamundr or Amundr – which in time all got blended into Hammond. The Norman Hamo came to England after Hastings and was a prominent royal steward during the reigns of William I and William II.

Hammond Surname Resources on The Internet

Hammond Surname Ancestry

  • from England (Southeast and East Anglia)
  • to America and Australia

EnglandHammond spellings in England were various until the 16th century, and then stabilized. These Hammonds were to be found mainly in the home counties and in East Anglia, a situation in terms of the Hammond name distribution that was to prevail under the beginning of the 20th century.

Sussex and Kent.  Richard Hamond was recorded in Sussex tax rolls of 1332 and the Hammond name has also been associated with Battle abbey in Sussex. Hamo was elected its abbot in 1364 and he gallantly fought off French raiders in 1377. John Hammond was its last abbot in 1529 before the dissolution of the monasteries. A later John Hammond built a gunpowder mill next to the abbey in 1676. Meanwhile Hammonds at Angmering in Sussex dated from the 16th century and possibly earlier.

Thomas Hammond purchased St. Albans Court near Nonington in Kent in 1551 after the dissolution of the monasteries. An early 18th century descendant Anthony Hammond, an MP and a poet, was known as “silver-tongued Hammond.” However, his gift of the gab failed him later on and he ended up in debtors’ prison. Financial propriety returned as a later Hammond of this family, William O. Hammond, headed up Hammond & Co, a Canterbury bank, in the mid 19th century.

East Anglia. The Hammond name was also to be found in East Anglia.. The name Richard Hammond was recorded in a legal document in Norfolk in 1331. Thomas Hammond was lord of the manor of Cresseners in Suffolk in the 16th century. Another Hammond family was local gentry at Ubbeston in Suffolk at this time. Later Hammonds were to be found at Ufford and Lawshall in the same county.

Ireland. The Norman Hamon name was said to have been brought to Ireland by two Hamon brothers who settled at Portarlington in Laios. The Hammond name in 1890 was mainly found in Donegal. One line there has been traced back to Andrew Hammond of Ballydermot in the 1750’s.

America. Hammonds were among the early arrivals to New England. Hammond lines come from:

  • William Hammond from Lavenham in Suffolk who came to Boston in 1632 and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. His cousin Thomas Hammond settled in Hingham nearby and later in Newton. Later Hammonds were pioneer settlers in Ohio, Theodore Hammond arriving there in 1814.  
  • and Benjamin Hammond from London who arrived on the Griffin in 1634 and settled in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

There were Hammonds from St. Albans in Kent in Virginia by the 1630’s. Samuel Hammond from Virginia fought in the Revolutionary War and later settled in Savannah, Georgia where he prospered as a merchant. He and his family moved in 1824 to his plantation on the Savannah river near Augusta.

Maryland. John Hammond of the Isle of Wight arrived in Maryland in the 1660’s, a young man and a Quaker. He later renounced his faith. Instead he married into one of America’s most distinguished families, the Howards. They were neighbors of his in the Middle Neck hundred, some nine miles west of where he helped to lay out the town of Annapolis, Maryland in 1684. His family line was traced in a book published in 1880 entitled The Hammond Families of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Frederick Counties, Maryland.

From this family came William Hammond, an army surgeon and patriarch of a family which included two army surgeon sons and a third son Richard who fought in the Mexican War, came out west in the California gold rush, and was the father of that famous industrialist and mining engineer John Hays Hammond. John’s son John Hays Hammond Jr. patented more than 400 inventions and is widely regarded as the father of radio control.

Australia. Thomas Hammond was one of 156 convicts transported to Sydney on the Neptune in 1820. His son Robert was a stock and station agent, his grandson Robert a prominent evangelical clergyman and social reformer.

Hammond Surname Miscellany

Hamo the Steward.  Hamo, sometimes known as Hamo Dapifer, was the son of a Norman lord who crossed the Channel to England after Hastings and held the office of royal dapifer or seneschal (steward) during the reigns of both William I and William II.

He was appointed Sheriff of Kent in 1077 and the Domesday Book recorded his extensive land holdings in Kent, Surrey and Essex. But Hamo’s involvement in the higher levels of government only really began in the late 1090’s when William II was frequently away from England.

His son Robert FitzHamon was a prominent figure in England during the reigns of William Rufus and Henry I.  He was the founder of Tewkesbury Abbey in the west country and he invaded south Wales with Norman forces in 1075.  Fitzhamon married and was said to have had four daughters, but no sons. 

John Hammond of Battle Abbey.  In 1529 John Hammond was elected Abbot of Battle Abbey. But all the signs around him were that monastic life was seriously under threat.  In the summer of 1535 the Abbey was inspected by Thomas Cromwell’s inspector, Dr Richard Layton.  By 1538 Robertsbridge and Battle were the only monastic houses surviving in Sussex. Robertsbridge surrendered to Cromwell in April that year and Battle followed a month later.

Hammond and his 18 monks surrendered the house on May 28.  Layton described Battle as: “So beggary a house I never see, nor so filthy stuff!”  In fact the Abbey income of £880 in 1535 made it one of the most prosperous Benedictine houses in the country.  Perhaps Hammond knew that the end was near and gave away all of its movable assets.

Abbot Hammond was given a large pension of £100 a year and moved to a house opposite in Battle High Street where he died in 1546.

Hammond Spellings in the 16th Century.  The following were some Hammond births recorded in the 16th century.  As can be seen, the Hammond spelling had not yet really settled down at that time.

George Hammonde 1550 North Elmham, Norfolk
George Hamond 1553 Shere, Surrey
George Hamonde 1559 Long Melford, Surrey
George Hammond 1572 Lidgate, Suffolk
Alexander Hamond 1581 Westmill, Herts
Robert Hamond 1583 Little Horwood, Bucks

Hammonds from Kent to America.  John Hamon had been a tenant of the Abbot of St. Albans near Nonington in Kent.  With the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII, he was able to initiate the purchase of the St. Albans manor.

His son Thomas Hammond completed the acquisition in 1548.  Two of Thomas’s grandsons, Francis and Robert, had distinguished army careers and accompanied Sir Walter Raleigh on his expedition to Guinea.  Later Hammonds were strong Royalists at the time of the Civil War.

Edward Hammond of this family came to Virginia in 1635 and was said to have introduced the culture of silkworm.  Captain Samuel Hammond was a patriot at the time of the Revolutionary War.  The family’s property in Virginia was destroyed by the Tories and he and other Hammonds of his family moved away to South Carolina. Later Hammonds of this family were to be found in Georgia.

Thomas Hammond of Newton, Massachusetts.  Thomas Hammond was one of the first settlers of Hingham in Massachusetts, having had land granted to him there in 1636. With several other Hingham pioneers, Thomas Hammond removed to a locality near the boundary line of what is now Newton and Brookline.   His homestead in Newton was near the pond that was afterwards called Hammond’s Pond.

Thomas became one of the wealthiest men of his day.  When he died in 1675, his estate, according to the inventory, amounted to nearly eleven hundred and forty pounds.  An interesting relic from his wife Elizabeth was a silver coin which she herself was allowed to coin when visiting the mint of England as a young girl.

From his line came Samuel Hammond, one of the party of patriots who threw the tea overboard in Boston Harbor.  Samuel later settled in Vermont. Benjamin Hammond of Newton was said to have commanded a company of militia at Lexington in 1775 and did other military duty during the Revolution.  He afterwards obtained the rank of Colonel and for a long time was a  leading man in the municipal affairs of Newton. Meanwhile Samuel Hammond, a merchant of Boston, prospered in the East India trade in the early 1800’s and resided in some splendor on Somerset Place.

Richard Hammond, Confederate Captain During the Civil War.  In the early 1930’s, some seventy years after his father’s death, a Texan from Terrell by the name of Pat Hammond travelled to the city of Murfreesboro in Tennessee in search of the grave of his father.  Captain Richard Powell Hammond had been killed in the Civil War while leading a Confederate force during the Battle of Stones River in December 1862.

A misunderstanding as to the marking of graves had caused Pat Hammond to make the long train trip to Murfreesboro.  But he found only the graves of some Federal soldiers marked when he went to the battlefield.  There was no trace was found of his father’s final resting place.  So he returned home.

Among the personal possessions which were returned to the family after his father’s death was a diary kept in pen and ink with daily entries made by his father from the time he was mustered into the Confederate service until the night before his death.

John Hays Hammond in South Africa.  In 1893 John Hays Hammond uprooted his family from California and trekked to the South African gold and diamond fields where he earned a reputed one-million dollars a year plus bonuses for his renowned expertise.

While in South Africa, he, worked with and became quite friendly with Cecil Rhodes.  It was through this association that he became involved in what he thought to be a political demonstration against the despotic Boer government.  When the demonstration blundered, Hammond was among those arrested, put on trial for treason, and sentenced to death. He became so desperately ill from the prison’s poor sanitary conditions that death might have seemed a blessing.

Mark Twain on a tour of Africa visited the prison and helped call attention to the situation.  Such press reports enabled Rhodes, by then back in England, to ransom Hammond release. Soon afterwards, he and his family relocated to convalesce in England.  They finally returned to the United States in 1899.

Hammond Names

  • John Hammond was the court physician to King James I in the early 1600’s.
  • John Hays Hammond was a famous industrialist and mining engineer who made his first fortune in South Africa and his second in California.
  • Wally Hammond was a leading English cricketer and batsman of the 1930’s.
  • John Hammond was the American record producer who discovered such artists as Billie Holliday, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan.
  • Joan Hammond was an Australian champion golfer of the 1930’s and an opera star of the 1940’s and 50’s.

Hammond Numbers Today

  • 30,000 in the UK (most numerous in Suffolk)
  • 26,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 15,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

Hammond and Like Surnames

The Norman Conquest brought new rulers to England and they brought their names and language, a form of French, with them.  Over time their names became less French and more English in character.  Thus Hamo became Hammond, Reinold Reynolds and Thierry Terry and so forth.  The names Allen, Brett, Everett, and Harvey were probably Breton in origin as Bretons also arrived, sometimes as mercenaries.

The new Norman lords often adopted new last names, sometimes from the lands they had acquired and sometimes from places back in Normandy.  Over time the name here also became more English.  Thus Saint Maur into Seymour, Saint Clair into Sinclair, Mohun into Moon, and Warenne into Warren.

Here are some of these Norman and Breton originating names that you can check out.



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Written by Colin Shelley

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