This most interesting surname, with variant spellings Stoneham and Stonham, is of English locational origin from North and South Stoneham, the name of a pair of villages in Hampshire, recorded as "Stanham" in the Cartularium Saxonicum (932) and "Stanham" in the Domesday Book (1086). The placename itself is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "stan", meaning stone, and "ham", homestead, settlement, a common element in English placenames, hence, the homestead, settlement by the stony ground. The surname first appears in records in the early 13th Century (see below). One William de Stonham appeared in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge in 1273, and a Stephen de Stonham was recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1273. The Feet of Fines of Essex mention one Roger de Stonham in 1333, while John Stoneham appeared in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1525. On January 25th 1578, Edward Stoneham and Jane Yalden were married in Bramshot, Hampshire. The family Coat of Arms is silver, on a black cross five escallops of the first. The Escallop or scallop shell, originally used as a badge by pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land, symbolises Venture and Inviolable Fidelity on a Coat of Arms. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Stanham, which was dated 1205, in the "Pleas before the King or his Justices (1198 - 1202)", Suffolk, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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