This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a number of places. Firstly, it may be from Heysham in Lancashire, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Hessam", and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "haes", brushwood, beach or oak wood, and "ham", village, homestead. Secondly, it may be from Eastham in Cheshire, Somerset and Worcestershire, recorded in the Domesday Book as "Estham", and means "Eastern village", from the Olde English "east", east, and "ham", homestead, village. Finally, the surname may be from Isham in Northamptonshire, recorded as "Isham" in the Domesday Book, and gets its name from the river "Ise", and "ham" (as before); hence, "village on the river Ise". Locational surnames were given to the lord of the manor, and to those former inhabitants who left to live or work in another area, and in this way the spelling of the name often changed with varying regional pronunciations. In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings, ranging from Easom, Esam and Essam, to Isham, Isom and Issom. On August 16th 1584, Henry Essam married Mawdlin Spackman at St. Mary Abchurch, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family depicts a silver fesse wavy and in chief three silver piles also wavy, points meeting in fesse, on a red shield, the Crest being a silver demi swan with wings displayed, beaked black. The Motto, "Ostendo non ostento", translates as, "I show not boast". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Isham, which was dated 1206, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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