This surname of English origin is a locational name from any of various places so called Witham deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century byname "Wit(t)a" meaning "wits" or "mind", or, "wiht" meaning "bend" plus "ham" "homestead", hence, "Wit(t)a's homestead" or "homestead in a bend". North and South Witham in Lincolnshire derive the name from the river on which they stand, which is of ancient British (the extinct Celtic language of the ancient Britons) origin. The name dates back to the late 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Peter de Wytham (1295) witness, "The Feet of Fines of Essex", and John Witham (1327) "The Subsidy Rolls Essex". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Withams, Wittam, Whitham, Whittome, etc.. One Katheren, daughter of George Witham, was christened at St. Giles Cripplegate, London on September 31st 1570. Sarah, daughter of Robert and Sarah Whittam, was christened at St. Botolph without Aldergate London on April 1st 1742. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Wythem, which was dated 1286, "The Kings Chaplain", 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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