This interesting surname, with the variant spelling Dillingam, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 15th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, also contributed to the "lost" village phenomenon. The component elements are believed to be the Olde English pre 7th Century "Dylla" a personal name, with "ing", people of, and "ham", a homestead or village; hence "homestead of Dylla's people". It is also possible that it is a dialectal variant of Dullingham in Cambridgeshire, recorded as "Dullingeham" in the Domesday Book of 1086, with the first element being the Olde English given name "dull"; hence "the homestead of Dull's people". Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Gilbert Dillingham and Ann Steer on March 18th 1605, at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury; and the marriage of Katherin Dillingham and Henry Dill, at St. Mary Mounthaw, on December 27th 1617. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Esdra Dyllingham, which was dated March 21st 1567, christened at Burwell, Cambridgeshire, 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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