This is one of the patronymic forms of the medieval male personal name "Tom", a diminutive of "Thomas", which was a very popular given name in the Middle Ages and generated a great many variant surnames. "Thomas" derives from the biblical, Aramaic byname meaning "Twin" and was borne by one of Christ's disciples; in England it was found only as a priest's name until after the Conquest, when, reintroduced by the Normans, it rapidly became popular. The variant forms "Thom" and Thoms", the latter meaning "son of Thom", are found particularly in Scotland, where "Thoms" is also an Anglicized form of the Scottish "MacThomas". The first recording of the patronymic occurs in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset of 1327, where one John Thoms appears. William John Thoms (1803-1885), the antiquary, was a publisher of antiquarian works and deputy-librarian of the House of Lords from 1863 to 1885. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Thome, which was dated 1293, The Yorkshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of The Scots, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.