Recorded in the spellings of Highman, Highnam, and Hynam, this is a post medieval English locational surname. It originates from the village of Highnam in the parish of Churchnam, in the county of Gloucestershire. Highnam is from the Olde English pre 7th century 'high hamme' and translates as 'The upper place', no doubt a reference to a farm. The main 'place' or farm, being Churchnam, or Church farm. Ekwalls 'Dictionary of English Place Names' refers to Highnam as being 'The monks farm', and it maybe that it formed part of the lands of the Abbey of Gloucester. The village name is first recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as Hynehamme, a spelling which it certainly retained until the 15th century. Many village or town names had a local 'slang' pronunciation which often gave rise to variant spellings of the surnames, Deadman for the Norfolk village of Debenham, being a well known example. In this case the spelling as Highman seems to be particularly associated with the village of Kings Stanley in Gloucester. Examples of the name spelling taken from surviving church registers of the post Civil War period include John Highman who was recorded there on October 29th 1682. He is believed to have had a large family, and he may have been the original name holder in that spelling. Other examples of the name spelling are slightly earlier and include Cesar Hynam of Marshfield, Gloucester, on October 2nd 1657, and Jane Highnam at Staunton by Monthmouth on May 19th 1681.
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