This rather unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a place so called in Norfolk. The placename was recorded as "Folsham" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Folesham" in the 1158 Pipe Rolls of that county, and it may be interpreted as "Fugel's homestead" or "the water-meadow frequented by birds". The first element is derive from either the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name or nickname "Fugel" (of uncertain etymology), recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the suffix "ham(m)", homestead, or the Olde English "fugol" meaning "fowl" or "bird", plus "hamm", as before; this can also be translated as "a flat low-lying meadow by a stream". Locational surnames were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below). One Simon Folsham was bailiff of Yarmouth in 1446, and Thomas Foulsham was rector of Clippsby, Norfolk, in 1490. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ernald de (of) Folsham, 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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