This is a locational surname of Olde English origins. Recorded in the spellings of Wrotham, Rotham, Rowtham, Routham and Rootham, it derives from the village of Wrotham in Kent. This village is one of the oldest recorded of all English place names, being found in the British Calendar Rolls of the year 788 a.d.. It is also recorded in its near modern spelling as 'Wroteham' in the 1086 Domesday Book, and from this recording it is easy to see, how during the many centuries when there was no education at all, phonetic dialectal spelling variants developed. Locational surnames were generally given to people as identification when they moved to other areas, particularly London. This situation accounts for recordings often being rare and later in their 'home' region. The original name-holder as shown below, held the manor of Wrotham, was Judge of the Stannary Courts of Devon and Cornwall, but whose main occupation was as Canon of Wells Cathedral, Somerset. The original meaning of the name is unclear but was probably the personal name of the pre 7th century 'Wrota', plus 'ham', a farmstead or hamlet. Examples of the name recording include Elizabeth Rotham on August 1st 1575 at St Matthews church, Friday Street, London, Elizabeth Wrotham at St James Clerkenwell, on May 11th 1618, and James Rootham at St Botolphs Bishopgate, London on April 12th 1646. The coat of arms has the blazon of a silver field, three black piles flory, issuing from the base sinister. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Wrotham, which was dated 1219, held office of 'Warden of the Cinque Ports', during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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