Last name: Belcham
The Norman Invaders of England in 1066 not only changed the structure of the country they introduced the concept of surnames. At first these were French and associated with land ownership, however as French names became absorbed, they underwent transposition to suit the English dialect. This is certainly the case with this surname, originally Belchamp, a village in La Manche, Normandy, and translating as "beautiful place". In England the spelling divided into Beauchamp, Beachan, Belcham, Belchamp, Belchem, Belsham and ultimately Balchin, Balchen and Ballchin! Examples of early church recordings from the surviving registers of the city of London include Elisha Belshall christened at St. Botolphs Church, Bishopgate on 29th July 1666, Mary Belcham, christened at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on December 26th 1629, and Annesloe Balchin, the daughter of John and Susan Balchin, christened at St. Pauls Church, Covent Garden on March 6th 1699. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of green field, charged with a crescent between eight estoiles in orle, all gold, suggesting victory over the Turks. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Hugo de Belchamp. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Hertfordshire, during the reign of King William 1st, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1082. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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