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The Name

It has been claimed that the name refers to a small area which was known as Clampit in the early 13th century and probably before then. It is difficult to know the exact origin of the name but it appears to refer to a wooded area or possibly a wooden bridge in the area. The name therefore appears to be a typical place name type surname, rather than one indicating trade (Smith, Fletcher, Miller etc) or battle honours etc

So far, research has shown the earliest recorded mention of the name to be in 1219 when, on the 24th of June, William De Mowlish exchanged a ferling (a measure of land) in Mowlish for a ferling in Clampit, with Robert de Mowlish the owner of the land in Clampit.

Mowlish was noted as being "in Kenton". The current ordnance survey maps show Mowlish Farm and Mowlish Barn in the KentonOpens in a new Window area about 6 miles South of ExeterOpens in a new Window, Devon, UK.

The location of Clampit is not noted in the document, but there seems to be little doubt that it was in ChristowOpens in a new Window parish (see web site for more infoOpens in a new Window), where today there are:-

Clampitt house, Clampitt Plantation, Clampitt falls and another Clampitt marked on the map, probably Clampitt farm. See Places with the family name for more information.

Apparently the "oldest" herd of cattle in the country is called the "Clampitt" herd and is located in the area of the border between Devon and Cornwall. These cattle are still being farmed today and it is hoped that further investigations can uncover more details.

The area is about 10 miles SW of Exeter and 9 miles W of Mowlish.

There is a Quaker burial ground close to Clampitt House, which is a fairly ordinary small farmhouse, moved in the last century from its original location which was flooded to make a reservoir.

Clampitt falls is an artificial waterfall made in the early 1900s by two brothers named Clampitt. See Places with the family name for more information.

A different version about the origin of the name claims it was "clay pit worker" - the family were apparently involved in the glass making industry - see here - so this may be true. Research has begun to find out if there are any links to glass making/blowing in France before they left.

This fits in with the English naming where it is claimed that the family name Clampitt can trace its roots to the Old English terms "cloeg" and "pytt" respectively denoting "clay" and "hollow"; and the second element changes the "y" to "e" in the eastern parts of Sussex.

The English family name Clampitt is classified as being of habitation origin. The phrase "Habitation names" is used to describe such names which are derived from the name of the town or region where the original bearer resided; or refers to the geographic location of the original bearer’s home.

Tracing how the name changed spelling is fascinating and more information can be found here.

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