This name is of English locational origin from a place thus called in Norfolk. Recorded variously as Beccheham and Becham in the Domesday Book of 1086, the first element is the Old English pre 7th Century personal byname Becca, from 'becca', a mattock or pickaxe, and originally given as a metonymic occupational name to a maker or user of these implements, plus 'ham', a homestead; hence, 'Becca's homestead'. The surname was first recorded in the latter part of the 14th Century, (see below). The name is widespread in Norfolk church registers from the mid 16th Century. On September 9th 1547 Helen Beckham and Richard Laurence were married in Great Dunham, and on January 10th 1570 William Beckham, an infant, was christened in Gresham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir Roger de Beckham, which was dated 1379 - 'Records of West Beckham', during the reign of King Richard II, 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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