This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a minor, unrecorded, or "lost" place, likely to have once been situated in Devonshire, due to the prevalence of church recordings of the surname in that county, and perhaps originally called "Denscombe". The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Denn", and either "ham", a village or homestead, or "cumb", a narrow valley. The phenomenon of the lost village was generally caused as a result of such natural disasters as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, or to the enforced land clearance at the height of the wool industry in the 15th Century, to make way for sheep pasture. It is estimated that there are between seven and ten thousand such places that have disappeared from British maps. Among the sample recordings in Devonshire is the marriage of George Densham and Catherine Leye on April 13th 1573. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Densham, which was dated September 12th 1562, marriage to Wylmote Flatcher, St. Mary's, Tedburn, Devonshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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