Recorded as Ringham, Ringgam, and Rinham, this is an English surname. It is locational from what would seem to be a now 'lost' medieval village. The phenomena of lost villages is particularly prevalent in the British Isles, and it has been estimated that something like five thousand such places have disappeared since the time of King Henry V111th. The reasons are complex, but include changes in faming methods which have reduced the labour content to a minimum, the infamous Enclosure Acts which allowed landlords to fence off the previously free 'Common lands', and above all creeping urbanisation, which has lead to the wholesale swallowing by the towns and cities of fomerly independant townships and villages. This is a process which has acelerated over the past century. Other more exotic events such as the plague known as the Black Death, played an early part, whilst recently a surprising number of hamlets and villages were lost to military needs such as airfields, in the Second World War. This surname translates as 'Ring settlement', probably a reference to a defensive wall or hedge which would have srrounded the original place. The surname is well recorded in surviving registers of the city of London with perhaps the earliest recording being that of John Ringham, a christening witness at St Botolphs without Aldgate, in the city of London, on July 18th 1667.
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