This name is of Anglo-Saxon locational origin from any of the places thus called, for example Fordham in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk. Recorded variously as 'Forham' or 'Fordham' in the Domesday Book of 1086 for the above counties, the name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century 'ford', a ford, plus 'ham(m)', a flat low-lying meadow by a stream. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below). One Richard de Fordham appears in the Hundred Rolls of Essex, dated 1273.On January 21st 1558, Alice Fordam and John Ashwell were married in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, and on October 9th 1610, Andrew Fordham married a Margaret Dunche in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire. An interesting namebearer was one George Fordham (1837 - 1887), a jockey who won the Cambridgeshire on 'Little David' in 1853, heading the list of winning jockeys from 1855 - 1862, scoring 165 wins in the last year. He won the Oaks five times, the Derby in 1879, and the Grand Prix de Paris four times. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Andrew de (of) Fordham, which was dated 1213 - Rector of Griston, Norfolk, 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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