Amherst Surname Origin
(Saxon Locality) From ham, a town or village, and hurst or herst, a wood, the town in the wood, the "H," by custom, being dropped or silent. It may have been derived from Hamo, who was sheriff in the county of Kent, in the time of William the Conqueror; a descendant of his was called Hamo de Herst, and the Norman de, and the aspirate "h" being dropped--Amherst. Amhurst, the connected grove, or conjoined woods; "am," in the British, as a prefix, has the sense of Amb, amphi, circum, i. e., about, surrounding, encompassing; hence, the surrounding grove, or Amhurst.
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
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