Recorded in many spellings as shown below, this is an early medieval English surname. Although it ultimately derives from the Hebrew personal name Shimeon, meaning one who harkens, it was always in its early days in Europe, a Christian (sur)name. Introduced by returning Crusaders from the Holy Land mainly in the 12th century, it became firstly a popular given name. This was because of its association with the Apostle Simon Peter, the brother of Andrew. In the modern idiom the patronymic forms include Simons, Simmons, Simmonds, Simeons, Symones, Symmons, Simmins, Simondson, Simyson and Fitzsimmons.Joseph Simons (1594 - 1671) was a leader of the English Jesuits from 1667 to 1671. He encouraged James, Duke of York, the future James 11nd, to join the Roman Catholic faith. This was a decision which paradoxically was to lead to the end of the Stuart monarchy in the British Isles, and set back Roman Catholic emancipation by a century, whilst coincidentally Richard Symons, a supporter of the Duke of Monmouth, was transported to the Barbadoes in 1685, having failed to prevent the acession of James. A coat of arms granted to William Simons of Leicestershire, depicts a red shield charged with a gold wing between three silver roses. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Simonds. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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