This is an English locational surname. Recorded in the spelllings of Marham, Marsham and Marcham, it is one of those surnames which derive from the different villages of Marham in Norfolk, Marsham in Sussex, and Marcham in Berkshire, although the ultimate meaning in all cases is the same. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Olde English 'mars' meaning a marsh or morass, and 'hamm', a hamlet or small village. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say that they were often given to people who left their original homestead and moved to another village or town.In the small communities of the Middle Ages, the easiest form of identification was to call him, or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Education being minimal, local dialects being very thick, and spelling in consequence being reduced to 'sounds like', often ensured that surnames developed many different forms and varieties. In this case the earliest recording that we have is that of Robert de Marcham from Marcham in (formerly) Berkshire. He appears in the Hundred Rolls of Nottingham in 1273, whilst Ralph Marham of Cambridge University, and who is believed to have died in 1380, was one of the first historians. Peter de Marcham was recorded in Yorkshire in the Poll Tax of 1379, whilst John Marsham of Middlesex entered Oxford University in 1619, the same year that Oliver Cromwell entered Cambridge.
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