This name, with variant spellings Oram, Or(r)um and Orrom, has two distinct possible origins. The first and most likely being a personal byname from the Old Norse "Ormr" meaning a "snake, serpent" or "dragon", and originally given as a nickname to someone thought to bear a fancied resemblance to one of these creatures. Alternatively, the name may be topographical for someone who lived near a prominent elm tree. The derivation in this case is from the Old French "orme" (Latin "ulmus"), an elm tree. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. "Orm" (without surname) appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Yorkshire, and an Orm de Hedoc is recorded in the 1169 Pipe Rolls of Lancashire. Alice filia (daughter of) Orme was recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire, dated 1273. The surname appears in that year also (see below). William Orm of Kethe, was a Scots prisoner-of-war captured at Stirling Castle in 1305, and in 1593, Thomas Scott, servant to John Orme, was recorded in the burial records of St. James Church, Clerkenwell, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Orm, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Nottinghamshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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