This interesting surname is English. Recorded in various spellings including Langham, Langam, Lanham, and the dialectals Lankom, Lankon, and Lancum, it is locational from one or perhaps all of the villages called Langham or Laneham in the counties of Suffolk, Dorset, and Norfolk. All these villages appear in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 and all have the same meaning. This is the 'the long farm', although quite why a place should be long as against short, a description that is not knowingly recorded, we are unable to say. Locational surnames were usually given as a means of identification to those who left their original homes to seek work elsewhere. A combination of a lack of education for 97% of the population, and regional dialect differences, produced the variations in the spelling of the surname. Early examples of the name recording taken from surviving church registers of the 16th century include: John Lanham and Mary Mason who were married on January 25th 1572 at St. Nicholas Acons, London, and Elizabeth Lancum, who married Thomas Kempe at the church of St Mary Somerset, also city of London, on May 26th 1628. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Walter de Langham. This was dated 1201, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Dorset, during the reign of King John of England., 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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