This long-established surname, with variant spellings Brahm, Braam, Brahms, Bramham, Brame and Braime, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from any of three places: Braham (Yorkshire West Riding); Brantham (Suffolk); or Braham Hall (Essex). The first named, recorded as "Bram" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Braham" in the 1242 Fine Court Rolls of Yorkshire, derives its name from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bram-hamm", from "brom-hamm", meaning low lying meadow ("hamm") covered with shrub ("brom"). Brantham in Suffolk, originally recorded as "Brantham" in the Domesday Book, and as "Braham" in the 1198 Curia Regis Rolls of the county, translates as "Branta's hamm", i.e. meadow. Locational surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname is first recorded in Essex (see below), and other early recordings include: Matthew de Braham, a witness in the Assize Court Rolls of Suffolk, dated 1273, and Willelmus Brame and Nicholas Brahma, both recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. Recordings from Yorkshire Church Registers include the marriage of Elizabeth Braime and George Parke on December 19th 1598, at St. Peter's, Leeds. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eustace de Braham, which was dated 1189, in the "Cartulary of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist", Colchester, Essex, 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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