This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or lost place, believed to have been situated in the south east of England, because of the high incidence of surname recordings in Church Registers of that area. Alternatively, Whapham may be a dialectal variant of Wappenham in Northamptonshire, and consequently locational from that spot. The Northamptonshire place, recorded as "Wapeham" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Wappeham" in the 1220 Feet of Fines for that county, has as its component elements the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Wappa" with "ham", village, estate, manor, homestead. Locational surnames were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those former inhabitants who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. On September 15th 1606, Joane Whapham and John Fuller were married in Horsmonden, Kent, and on February 26th 1698, John, son of Thomas and Ann Whapham, was christened in Merton, Surrey. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robarte Whapham, which was dated November 21st 1580, marriage to Alys Russelle, at Buxted, Sussex, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 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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