This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either of the places called Peckham in Kent and in Surrey. Interestingly, East and West Peckham in Kent were recorded as two settlements, "duobus Peccham" and "tham twam Peccham" in the Saxon Chartulary prior to the Domesday Book of 1086, but in Domesday the settlement is recorded as a single one, "Pecheham". The place in Surrey (now part of South London) is also recorded in the Domesday Book as "Pecheham", and in the Curia Regis Rolls of the county of 1200 as "Pecham". Both placenames are derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "peac", peak, (pointed) hill, with "ham", homestead, settlement. Locational surnames, such as this, were acquired by local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and who were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Two notable bearers of the name were John Peckham (died 1292), archbishop of Canterbury, and Sir Edmund Peckham (1495? - 1564), M.P. for Buckinghamshire in 1554, and appointed treasurer or master of the mint in 1546. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name depicts a cross terminated with four leopards' heads, all gold, on a blue shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anne Pecham, which was dated April 16th 1553, marriage to (personal name not given) Robins, at St. Bartholomew the Less, London, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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