This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from the parish and village of Fincham in West Norfolk. Recorded as "Phincham" in the Domesday Book of 1086, as "Fincham" circa 1095 in Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, and as "Fincheham" circa 1150, the place was so called from the Olde English pre 7th entury "finc", finch, with "ham", a flat low-lying meadow on a stream, water-meadow, hence; "meadow frequented by finches". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently produced several variations on the original spelling of the name, which, in the modern idiom, is found as: Fansome, Fanston, Fanstone, Fanson, Fensom, Fensun, Fensham, Fenshum, Fencham and Fincham. On January 7th 1544, Thomas, son of Edmund Fensham, was christened in Toddington, Bedfordshire, and on December 20th 1657, the birth of one Francis Fensome was recorded at Maulden, Bedfordshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with three black bars and a bend ermine, the Crest being a hind's head erased gold, in the mouth a branch of holly vert, fructed red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Fincham, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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