This name, with variant spellings Rotheram, Rotherham etc., is of English locational origin from a place in the South Riding of Yorkshire called Rotherham. Recorded as Rodreham in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Roderham in the Curia Regis Rolls of that county, dated 1200, the place was named from situation on the River Rother. This river name contains the British intensifying element "ro-", ("British", in this case, being the extinct Celtic language of the ancient Britons reflected in the Welsh "rhy(law)" meaning heavy rain, flood waters etc..). "Chief River" is a likely interpretation, with a second element "ham" coming from the Old English "ham", a village or estate. The surname from this source was first recorded in the mid 13th Century, (see below). Further early recordings include Henry de Rotherham (Staffordshire, 1356), and Robertus de Roderham, (Yorkshire 1379). On November 15th 1835 Elizabeth Rudderham and John Poulter were married in St. James', Paddington, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Roderham, witness, which was dated 1256 - "The Assize Court Rolls of Northumberland", during the reign of King Henry 111, "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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