Recorded in many spellings as shown below, this is an English surname. It is locational and medieval and originates from the village of Neasham in County Durham. The place name is pre 7th century Olde English and translates as 'The house (ham) on the ness (headland)' or possibly 'on the bend of the river'. The name is sometimes confused or even fused with the Anglo-Irish surname Neeson. This name derives likewise from Ness, although in this case it was a medieval nickname and personal name for a man with prominent features particularly his nose or jaw! The village name is first recorded as Neesham in the Yorkshire Rolls of 1158 and as Nesham in the Pipe Rolls of 1202. In the modern idiom the surname spelling variations include: Neesham, Neesam, Neesom, Neasham and Neasam. Famous name holders include Admiral Christopher Nesham (1771 - 1843) who captured Martinique in 1809. An early example of the surnamerecording far from its 'home' is that of Elizabeth Neesham, who married Stephen Loddington at St. Mary's church, Putney, in 1661. This was during the reign of King Charles llnd of England, and known to history as "The Merry Monarch", 1660 - 1685. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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