This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a place so called in Norfolk, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bean", beans (a collective singular), and the Olde English "ham", homestead; hence, "homestead where beans were grown". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The placename was first recorded as "Benham" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Banham", both in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1174, and the Book of Fees dated 1212.The modern surname can be found as Banham, Bannam, Banyham and Baynham, and it is also found widely recorded in Suffolk; the earliest recordings being found here (see below). Recorded in the Norfolk Church Registers is the marriage of Henry Banham and Jeane Stawken, on October 25th 1618, at All Saints, Norwich. A Coat of Arms granted to the Banham family is azure a bend silver cottised gold. Azure signifies Loyalty and Truth, and Silver denotes Peace and Sincerity. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Banham, which was dated June 30th 1560, marriage to Margarett Brightwell, at Dallinghoo, Suffolk, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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