This rare habitational surname originates from a now "lost" medieval site or village of Norse-Viking origins. The derivation is from the pre 9th Century "Wichnare" meaning an estate steward or bailiff, plus the Anglo-Saxon "ham", a manor or farmstead, "the steward's house". Although the site does not appear in the medieval village lists prepared by the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments (1990), this is not unusual; some three thousand plus sites remain known but undiscovered. The surname is recorded widely in 17th Century Sussex, and similarly in London, but not in any of the surrounding counties. Habitational surnames were usually developed as a result of a village being "cleared" for farming, the occupants being scattered, and taking as their identification their former village name. This action often led to a wide range of variant spellings, although this is not the case with Wickersham. Examples of the name include: Richard Wickersham, who married Mary Evans at East Grimstead, on January 1st 1627, and Frances Wickersham, who married Thomas Goldsmith at Lancing, Sussex, on July 7th 1763. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Wickerhames, which was dated July 1st 1608, marriage to Margrett Devenish, at All Saints Church, Wandsworth, Surrey, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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