This is an English locational surname. Recorded as Cawldham, Cowldam, Couldham, Coldham and others, it originates from the village of Coldham, four miles from the town of Wisbech in the county of Cambridgeshire, and the region of East Anglia. First recorded as Koldam, a Saxon (Germanic) spelling in the undated Book of Fees (taxes), this is believed to be about the year 1200 a.d. A century later the village is recorded Coldham in the Charter Rolls of the year 1300, a spelling which it has been retained since. It is thought that the derivation is from pre 7th century 'calde' meaning 'cold' but in the context of this name - 'empty' and describing a shelter for the use of travellers. To this was added 'ham' - giving a homestead for the shelter keeper. Whilst the 'empty' section was probably was not much more than a hovel lacking almost any amenities, it might be described as an early b & b. East Anglia at this time was famous for its inland fishing, the region being a mass of shallow lakes between small islands which gave much employment to locals, and smoked fish to London. Today only the Norfolk Broads remain of this inland sea, the whole area being drained between the 14th and 19th centuries. Locational surnames were those either of the local landowner, or more usually were given to people after they left their original homes - and moved elsewhere, as easy identification of a stranger. 'Elsewhere' was often the city of London, the only major city in the British Isles, and the one that had the reputation of 'having streets paved with gold.' This surname has been recorded almost from the instigation of church registers for births, deaths, and marriages in 1535. Early recordings include Robert Coldam, a christening witness at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on December 10th 1632. The first recording is believed to be that of Alize Cawldam. She married William Carnwell at St Olave's, Old Jewry, city of London, on January 27th 1545. This was in the reign of King Henry V111th of England, (1510 - 1547).
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