This distinguished surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Grantham in Lincolnshire, recorded variously as "Grantham, Granham" and "Grandham" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The second element of the placename is the Olde English pre 7th Century "ham" a homestead, with the first element being either the Olde English "grand", gravel; hence, "homestead or gravely soil", or the personal name "Granta" (which probably originated as a byname meaning Snarler); hence "Granta's homestead". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname Graham is now most widespread in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was taken to Scotland at the beginning of the 12th Century by the Norman baron William de Graham (see below), holder of the manor in Lincolnshire, from whom many if not all modern bearers are probably descended. James Graham, first marquis and fifth Earl of Montrose (1612 - 1650), fought on behalf of Charles 1st and became lieutenant-general to Charles 11 in 1648. This most notable surname has no less that forty-five entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", and forty-two Coats of Arms granted to families of the name. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Graham, which was dated 1127, in the "Foundation Charter of Holyroad Abbey", during the reign of King David 1 of Scotland, 1124 - 1153. 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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