Recorded as Keningham, Kenningham, Kenninghan, and possibly others such as Kennham, Kenyham and Kenyam, this is an English medieval locational surname. It originates from the village of Kenningham, now called Kenningham Hall in the county of Norfolk, the place name, and hence the later surnames, probably originating from the pre 7th century description of 'cyne ham' meaning the kings farm or manor. If so it referred to lands owned by the king. Another explanation is that the name refers to farms occupied by members of the 'Cena' tribe. These people, who descended from the original Britons, were prominent in the East Anglian region, and specifically Norfolk, long before the Norman Invasion of 1066. The surname being locational can also be described as a 'from' name. That is to say a name that was given either to the local lord of the manor, or as easy identification to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. What is rather strange is the paucity of early proven surname recordings in Norfolk. Such as they are include William Kennygham who married Anna Potter at St Stephens Norwich, on January 22nd 1555, during the reign of Queen Mary 1st of England, and known to history as 'Bloody Mary.' The surname is an early recording in the city of London with Dorcas Keningham being christened at St Mary Woolchurch in the city of London, on December 12th 1572. The coat of arms most associated with the name may be that of a black field, charged with a chevron engrailed in gold, between three silver crosses patonce. Throughout the centuries, surnames have continued to develop in their spelling, often leading to astonishing variants of the original forms.
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