This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an East Anglian locational surname deriving from either of the places called "Barsham" in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The place in Norfolk is recorded as "Barseham" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the place in Suffolk as "Bersham", and both placenames share the same meaning and derivation which is "Bar's homestead or settlement", from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name or byname "Bar", from "bar", wild boar, with "ham", homestead, settlement, enclosure. The surname development since 1198 (see below) includes: Martin Barsham or Bassham (1367, Essex); Robert Bassham (1548, Norfolk); Robert Basshm (1561, ibid.); Annes Bassam (1563, ibid.); and William Basem (1625, Suffolk). The modern surname can be found as Barsham, Basham and Bassham. The marriage of William Basham and Awdry Powle was recorded at Helhoughton, Norfolk, on September 29th 1552. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Barsham, which was dated 1198, in the "Feet of Fines of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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