Recorded in several spelling forms including Pridham, Priddam, Prudhom and Prudham, this interesting surname is English. However its origination is probably not locational from Pridhamsleigh in the county of Devon as it seems, but is almost certainly medieval French. For three hundred years after the Norman Conquest of 1066, the official language of England and Scotland and the one spoken by the establishment of the day, and those that aspired to be members was French. As such it spawned a number of expressions which in various forms remain in the langauage today. This one has been lost but remains as a surname. Originally was a nickname given to a wise and sensible man or perhaps the reverse, from the words "prud homme" said to have been an official term of recognition in the theatricals of the period known as the Chivalric Romances. It was also used as a term for a superior craftsman, and distinguished the wiser folk (prudhommes) from the general mass (plebs) of the public. Examples of the surname in the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London are the marriages of John Pridham and Anna Maria Vizer on May 20th 1708, at St. Martin-in- the-Fields, Westminster, and of Philip Pridham and Anne Brodley on March 10th 1725 at St. Mary-le-Bow. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Prodhome. This was dated 1176, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Surrey, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 1154-1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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