This interesting and unusual name, with variant spellings Beldom, Beldham, Beldum and Beldan, derives from the Anglo-French "beledame", Old French "belle-dame", translating as "beautiful" or "fine" lady, and was originally given as a complimentary nickname to a particularly attractive and gracious lady. Later, the term may have been used in a derogatory sense to indicate effeminacy in a man. The surname was first recorded towards the end of the 13th Century, (see below). One Richard Beledame was noted in the 1332, "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex". Recordings from London church registers include the marriage of John Beldam to Jan Sudley in st. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, on November 15th 1612; the christening of Samuel Beldum in St. Botolph Bishopsgate, on January 2nd 1677, and the christening of William Beldom in St. Mary Whitechapel, on July 24th 1687. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godfrey Beledame, which was dated 1296 in the subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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