Recorded in many spellings including Rudham, Ruddam, Ruddom and Ruddum, this is an English surname. It is locational from the villages known as East and West Rudham in the county of Norfolk. These villages were originally one, being recorded as Rudeham in the 1086 Domesday Book, compiled on the instructions of King William 1st, after his successful invasion in 1066. The village name is Anglo-Saxon pre 9th century and the translation is given as either 'The house (ham) by the reeds (hreod)', which seems quite logical for the Norfolk area or possibly 'The house of Rudda', the latter being a personal name of the period. The surname is sometimes confused with Rudderham, a dialectal of the Yorkshire name 'Rotherham'. Early examples of the surname recordings include Alyce Ruddam, the daughter of the first named below, christened at St Dunstans in the east, Stepney, on December 17th 1580, and Katherine Rudham, who married Robert Gill at St Peters church, Thetford, Norfolk, on November 3rd 1675. A later recording from the same region is that of David Rudham, christened at St John de Sepulchre church, Norwich, on December 14th 1783. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Harry Ruddam, which was dated March 9th 1577, a witness at the church of St Dunstans, Stepney, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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