This unusual and interesting name recorded in the spellings of Walsham, Wallsham and Wallsam, is pre 7th century Olde English and Anglo-Saxon origin. It is a locational surname deriving from one of the places now called North Walsham and South Walsham in Norfolk, and Walsham le Willows in Suffolk. The places in Norfolk are recorded in the 'Saxon Codex' of 1044 - 1047 as 'Northwalsham' and 'Suthwalsham', and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Walsam' and 'Walessam' respectively, while the place in Suffolk appears in the Domesday Book as 'Wal(e)sam'. The placenames share the same meaning and derivation, which is however open to two interpretations; firstly, it may means 'Wahl's homestead', from the Old English pre 7th Century byname 'W(e)alh', from 'w(e)alh', foreigner, with 'ham', homestead, settlement, or it may be 'Wael's homestead' from the Old English personal name 'Wael', battle, with 'ham' as before. An example taken from church register recordings is that of the marriage of Maximilian Walsham and Ann Marryot, at Canterbury, Kent, in 1677. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Walesham, which was dated 1273, The Cambridgeshire Hundred Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 1, 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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