This interesting surname is of English locational origin from a place thus called in Kent, recorded as "Leanaham" in the "Cartularium Saxonicum" (858) and as "Leanham" in the "Domesday Monachorum", of 1086. The component elements of the name are the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Leana" plus "ham" a village, estate or homestead; hence "Leana's homestead". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job- seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name.The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 16th Century (see below). In the modern idiom, the surname is found with variant spellings Leneham and Leynham. On June 2nd 1612, Thomas Lenham married Margret Fryer, at St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney, London. John Lenham was christened on February 1st 1651 at the church of Ash by Wrotham, Kent. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a shield divided in quarter silver and black, on the first quarter there is a red fleur-de-lis and on the second an ermine fleur-de-lis. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Leneham, who witnessed the christening of his daughter, Jane, which was dated September 26th 1565, at St. Jame's Church, Clerkenwell, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, who was known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558-1603. 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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