Recorded as Leatham and Letham, this is an English locational surname. It is a variant of the more familiar surname Latham, itself from any one of the following places: Latham, in West Yorkshire; Lathom, in Lancashire; and Laytham in East Yorkshire. All of these share the same meaning and derivation, which is "The place of the barns", from the pre 7th century Old Norse word "hlatha", meaning a barn, and a short form of the Olde English word "ham" meaning a house or homestead. Lathom in Lancashire is recorded as "Latune" in the Domesday Book of 1086, whilst Laytham in East Yorkshire appears as "Ladone" in the same manuscript. Locational surnames were usually acquired by those former inhabitants of a place who moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Examples of recordings include the marriage of John Leatham and Kathleen Lee was recorded in Carlton near Snaith in Yorkshire on January 28th 1626, whilst Thomas Letham was a christening witness at St Katherines Creechurch, in the city of London, on April 15th 1764. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Latham. This was dated 1204, in the Assize Court Rollsof Yorkshire, during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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