Recorded as Lealam, Lillam, Lelam, Lulham, Lullham, and probably others this is an English surname. It is locational from a place which was presumably spelt in one of the surname forms, but if so we have not been able to establish the existence of such a place. This is not unusual. It is estimated that at least three thousand surnames originate from now "lost" medieval villages, and the number grows almost daily. As to why so many places have disappeared is none of the mysteries of history, but in general it can be put down to continuing changes in agricultural practices which over centuries have reduced the need for farm workers, the infamous Enclosure Acts of mainly the 18th century, whereby landowners were able to seize the common lands, and of course the various great plagues which swept the country. These killed off whole communities between about the years 1350 and 1670, whilst twenty villages disappeared in one night in the 14th century when a whole area of East Yorkshire on the Humber River, was overwhelmed by the sea. The make up of the name would suggest a development from the pre 7th century "Lael - ham" or willow settlement, willow being one of the most imnportant of materials. The surname is well recorded in the surviving church registers of the city of London from the Stuart period. The first of these is probably John Lullham and his wife Ann, at St Albans Wood Street, on October 20th 1678.
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