This interesting name is of Norman (French) origin, being one of the English forms of the French male personal name "Guillaume", better known as "William". The name was introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066, and quickly became the most popular given name in the country, mainly in honour of William the Conqueror, no doubt. A large number and variety of surnames were generated from "William", which is itself derived from the Germanic name "Wilhelm", composed of the elements "wil", will, desire, and "helm", helmet, protection. The forms "Gilham", "Gillham", "Gilliam", "Gillam" and "Gillum" all derive from the Old French "Guillaume". The name development includes Arnold Gilleme (1283, London), William Giliam (1379, Yorkshire) and Robert Gylham (1524, Suffolk). Elizabeth Gilham and Thomas Tyler were married at St. Martins in the Fields, London on April 9th 1676. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter Gillame, which was dated 1276, from the "Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London", 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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