This rare and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Hotham in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The placename was recorded as "Hode" in the Yorkshire Charter Rolls (963) and as "Hodhum" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hodum", the dative plural of "hod", a shelter. Occasionally perhaps the surname may be from Hougham in Lincolnshire, ecorded as "Hac(h)am" in the Domesday Book, and deriving from the Olde English "hoh", spur of hill, and "hamm", meadow; hence, "meadow on the spur of the hill". 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. Walter de Hothum is noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire (1327), and John Hotham is listed in the Calendar of Plea and Memoranda Rolls of the City of London (1381). Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Thomas, son of Richard Hattam, on August 10th 1606, at Pontefract, Yorkshire; the marriage of Thomas Hattam and Esther Bird on May 1st 1632, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London; and the marriage of Francis Hattam and Katherine Rowley on December 14th 1705, at Wombourn, Stafford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Hotham, which was dated 1202, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire", 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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