Last name: Malham

This interesting and long-established surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a locational name from the parish and village of Malham on the River Aire in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Recorded as "Malgun" in the Domesday Book of 1086; as "Malghum" in the 1208 Feet of Fines; and as "Malgum" in the 1257 Charter Rolls, the place was so called from the dative plural of a Scandinavian word related to the Swedish lakename "Maljen", or "Malghe", ultimately from "malg, maligr", gravelly soil, sandbank; hence, "stony or gravelly place". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. The surname is particularly well recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire, and entries include: Stephen de Malgham, draper; Thomas de Mallum; and Adam de Mallom. In the modern idiom the name is variously spelt: Malham, Maleham, Mallam and Malam. On Mary 26th 1680, Jane Maleham and Edward Norman were married in London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a red shield with three silver chevrons in base, on a gold chief an azure lion passant guardant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Malghom, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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.

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