This interesting surname of English origin with variant spellings Woodham, Woodhams, Wodhams, Wadhams, etc., is a dialectal variant of any of the various places so called Woodham. Most, for example in Essex and Surrey derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wudu" meaning "wood", plus "ham" "homestead", hence, "village in the wood" or "dweller at the enclosure in the wood". Woodham in Buckinghamshire has as its second element the Olde English "hamm" meaning "water meadow". The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below).Further recordings include one William de Wodham (1273), the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, and Thomas ate Wodehamme (1332), the Subsidy Rolls of Surrey. Church recordings include one Sarah, daughter of John Waddams who was christened on October 17th 1608 at St. Mary Magdalene's Church, Bermondsey, George Wadhams who married Ann Congrave on December 29th 1756 at St. Botolph's Church, Bishopsgate, and Thomas son of Joan and Elizabeth, Wadhams was christened on March 16th 1777 at St. Mary Magdalene's Church, Old Fish Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander de Wudeham, which was dated 1170, in the "Pipe Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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