It is not often that a locational surname has the "correct" spelling form, whilst the place from which is developed is a corruption, but this is the case with Foulgham. It derives from the Olde English "fugol" meaning bird, and "hamm", a farm, and is found in the pre Domesday village (1086) of Foulsham in Norfolk. To add to the confusion, the village spelling form always has been Foulsham, Folsham, or Folsam, the Norfolk dialectal form, the correct Foulgham not apparently being recorded before the 17th Century, when Daniel Fowlgham was a christening witness at the Church of St.Michael at Plea, Norwich, on June 14th 1629. The early Norfolk recordings are all as Folsham (see below), Elias de Folsham being rector of Bokenham Ferry, Norfolk, in 1349, whilst Thomas Foulsham was rector of Clippsby, Norfolk, in 1490. The spelling as Foulgham seems to be 18th Century, and away from its "home" county, James Foulgham, who married Martha Ball at St. Mary's, Nottingham, being recorded on May 11th 1740, and John Foulgham, of Bishopsgate, London, on January 21st 1772. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ernald de Folsham, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Edward 111, 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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