THE NAME AND ITS ORIGIN
AS FOUND IN ANCIENT HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY
This name, in its many variations, is often met with in ancient history
long before surnames were in use, and its possible derivation and meaning may be of
interest to some of those who bear it in its more modern form.
It is found written Aman, Amann, Amon, Ammon, Haman, Hamant, Hamont,
Hammon, Hammons,Hamond, Hamonde, Hayman, Haymond, and later almost universally as Hammond,
although there are
still some Amans of French or Norman descent and a few Hamants, Hammons
and Haymans of English and Irish origin.
It appears among the very earliest surnames found in England, where it
was introduced as a family cognomen at the time of the Conquest by some officers of the
"Ammon or Hammon--A name given to Jupiter, worshiped in Libya. When
Bacchus was conqueringAfrica, he is said to have come with his army to a spot called, from
the vast quantity of sand lying around, by the name of Hammodes. Here his forces were in
great danger of perishing from want of water, when a ram appeared on a sudden and guided
them to a verdant spot, or oasis, in the midst of the desert. When they reached this place
the ram disappeared and they found an abundant supply of water.
Bacchus therefore, out of gratitude, erected on the spot a temple to
Jupiter, giving him at the same time the surname Ammon, or Hammon, from the Greek sand in
allusion to the circumstances connected with his appearance, and the statue of the deity
had the head and horns of a ram. The oasis referred to is the Oasis of Ammon, and the
fountain is the famous Fons Solis.
The temple of Ammon, like that of Delphi, was famous for its treasures,
the varied offerings of the pious. Plutarch says that the name of Ammon is the Egyptian
name for Jupiter. This god was particularly worshipped at Thebes, called in the sacred
books Hammono, "the possession of Hammon,"
and in the Septuagint (Ezek. C. 21), the City of Ammon. Jablonski
derives the word Ammon from Am-oein--shining. According, however, to Champollion the
younger, the term in question (Amon),denoted in the Egyptian language "secret,
concealed," or "he who reveals his secret powers." The Greek etymology of
the name Ammon is fanciful and visionary, and only affords another proof of the constant
habit in which that nation indulged, of referring so many things to themselves with which
they had not, in truth, the slightest connection."(*)
Many other significations are found for the name in ancient history:
Amon--faithful, true; Haman--noise, turmoil. Hamon-Gog--the multitude of Gog, &c.
At a later date we find the Roman General, who was among the invaders of
Britain and from whom the Port of Southampton derives its name. His feat of valor adds no
particular lustre to the name, however.
In the settlement of the estate of Thomas Button, Bishop of Exeter, in
the year 1310, is mentioned a lot of "loculiponchi and Hamondes," six in number,
which were sold. The word is used here in its Saxon, meaning "something which
protects and keeps safe."(+) The name Hammond as a family name appears in
England from the date of the Conquest (1066). It is found with
(*)Classical Dictionary, by Charles Anthon, L. L. D. a large variation
of spelling, often exhibiting three or more different forms in the same document. The name
appears to have been generally spelled Hamond or Hamonde prior to 1700, but is often found
written Hamon, Hamont or Hamant in the text of a document, when the signature is Hamond or
Hamonde. The same individual does not seem to have always spelled his name in the same
fashion, and it is not until some years after the emigration to America that we find
anything like uniformity of spelling, even in the same family. After the emigration the
large majority of the families of the name adopted the uniform spelling of Hammond, but
there are a few who still adhere to the names Hamant, Hamond and Hammon.
"Hammond. Among the many of his own kin who accompanied the Duke of
Normandy on his invasion of England were two brothers, sons or grandsons of Hamon
Dentatus: Robert Fitz-Hamon, the renowned conqueror of Glamorganshire, and Haimon, called
"Dapifer," from his having received the office of Lord Steward for the King. The
latter died issueless, and the former left four daughters only, three of whom devoted
themselves to conventual lives, and the fourth, Mabel, married Robert Fitzroy, Earl of
Gloucester. Hamon Dentatus appears to have had at least two other sons, Richard, of
Granville, and Corbeil, ancestor of the Granville family, illustrious in the ranks of the
peers and landed proprietors; and Creuquer, as he is styled in the Battle Abbey Roll, who
inherited the Barony of Chatham from Robert Fitz-Hamon and many of the Kentish estates of
Hamon Dapifer. Creuquer, or Crevecoeur, had his manors erected into a lordship, called by
way of distinction, "Baronia-de-Creviquer," and from
Chatham being its head, his descendants generally wrote themselves
"Domini de Cetham." We find these honors in the reign of Richard I. in
possession of Haimon de Crevequer, who died in 1203, leaving Robert Haimon his heir.
Haimon joined the confederacy of the Barons under Simon de Montfort against Henry III, and
was among those who in consequence lost their estates. From him lineally descended Ralph
Heyman, or Hayman, of Sellinge, County Kent, ancestor of the Heymans of Somerfield,
extinct Baronets, and Roger Hayman, who, to avoid religious persecution in Queen Mary's
reign, fled into Devonshire, where he established a line represented now both in
Somersetshire and in Ireland. The present chief of the Irish portion of the family is
Matthew Hayman, Esq., of South Abbey, Goughal, a magistrate of Cork."(*)
"Grenville, Richard, surnamed de Grenville, from one of his lordships, was a younger
brother of the renowned conqueror of Glamorganshire, Robert Fitz-Hamon, and derived in
direct descent from Rollo the Dane.
"Accompanying his royal kinsmen to England, he fought at Hastings
and participated in the spoils of victory. He inherited also the Norman honors of his
house, and was Earl of Corbeil and Baron of Thorigny and Granville."(+) In the
annals of the Conquest no name is more frequently met with than Hamon. The sons of the
renowned Norman Lord, Hamon Dentatus, who rebelled against William and overthrew King
Henry at Vales-dunes. It may not be out of place to quote briefly from some of the
accounts of this, our illustrious Norman ancestor. "In the same company was Hamon,
Lord of Thorigny, Lord, too, of the Steep of Crenilly, where a vast fabric of later times
has displaced his ancient 'donjon,' and where the adjoining church bears witness to the
splendors and bounty of the generation immediately following his own.2 Some personal
peculiarity entitled him to bear, in the language of our Latin chroniclers, one of the
most glorious cognomenia of old Rome, and Hamon Dentatus became the forefather of men
famous in British as well as in Norman history.3 One royal chronicler in his zeal speaks
of (*)Burke's Battle Abbey Roll, 1848, p. 66.
(+)Burke's Battle Abbey Roll, 1848, p. 61.
"Note 2, Ib. 9182."
"Dan as Dens esteit un Normant De fie e d'homes bien poissant, Sire
esteit de Thorignie E' de Mezi e de Croillie."
"William of Malmesbury introduces him, Vol. II, 320, as "Haimo
the rebel by the strange name of Antichrist; 4but as in the case of Thurstan of Falaise,
the stain was wiped out in the next generation. His son, Robert Fitz-Hamon, was destined
to set the seal to the work of Offa and of Harold, to press down the yoke forever upon the
Southern Cymry, and to surround his princely fortress of Cardiff with the lowlier castles
of his twelve homagers of the land of Morgannog."
"The expression is very strange, but it is so taken by M. Le Comte
(See Appendix O.), and I see not what else it can mean."(*)
Many pages of Freeman's History of the Norman Conquest are devoted to
the exploits of Hamon.
Robert Fitz-Hamon seems to have taken a very active part in proclaiming
William King, and the large estates given him were but a fitting reward from his
sovereign. In describing the battle which decided the conquest Freeman says, "William
now sprang on his horse's back, and now ready for battle, he paused for a moment at the
head of his host. His gallant equipment and bearing called forth the admiration of all
around him, and a spokesman for their thoughts was found in Hamon, the Viscount of the
distant Thowars. He spoke, no doubt, the words of all when he said that never had such a
knight been seen under heaven, and that the noble Count would become a noble
King."(+) In speaking of the Council which proclaimed William King, he says:
"The military council was strongly in favor of William's acceptance of the crown, but
the decisive answer was given, not by any of William's native subjects, but by one
Dentatus [Dan as Dens], avers Roberti quo nostro tempore in Anglia multarum possessionum
incubator exstitil." Robert died of a wound received at Truchehai in 1106 (Will.
Malms, Vol. V, p. 398), and his daughter Mabel married the famous Robert, Earl of
Gloucester (Hist. Nov. 1, 3).
"Note 4. Benoit, 32, 742."
"Per cel Rannolde Beissin, E par Neil de Costentin E par Hamon uns
(*)Hist. Norman Conquest, by Edward A. Freeman, M. A., Vol. II, p.
(+)Freeman's Conquest of England, Vol. III, p. 456.
of the most eminent of the foreign volunteers, Hamon, Viscount of
Thowars, a man, we are told, as ready of speech as he was valient in fight, had on the
height of Telham, been the first to hail the Duke as a future King."??
Green's Conquest of England also devotes much space to the Hamons.
Katherine S. Macquoid, in her "Through Normandy," p. 407, describes the ancient
fortress or castle of Hamon in Creully, which is still in existence. She also gives a very
entertaining account of the early Lord and his sons.
The name is also found in the far north. In the "Story of the
Volsungs," edited by H. H. Sparling, which is translated from the Icelandic, is
mentioned in the mythology of the north; "Hamund," son of Sigmund, son of
Volsung, son of Resis, son of Sigi, son of Odin or Wodin.
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