This ancient and distinguished name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from any one of the places so called, for example in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Hampshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Most of these places are recorded in the Saxon Chartulary of circa 821 - 974 as "Wicham" or "Wichaema", and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as, variously, "Wiceham, Wicham, Wikham", and "Wic(c)hamm". The Olde English pre 7th Century term "wicham", from which the majority of the placenames are derived, was used to denote a settlement (Olde English "ham") associated with a Romano-British town, "wic" being an adaptation of the Latin "vicus". Sometimes the placename may derive from the Olde English "wic", dairy-farm, with "hamm", water-meadow. Childs Wickham in Gloucestershire, another possible source of the surname, recorded as "Wignenna, Wicvene", in Domesday, is so called from ancient British elements meaning "lodge in a plain or moor", or "plain in a wood". The surname is first recorded as a byname in the 10th Century: Wulfric aet Wicham (955), and other early examples are William de Wykeham (1305, Yorkshire), and Walter Wykham (1400, Gloucestershire). One Richard Wickham, of Kent, is listed in the Register of the University of Oxford in 1594. One of the Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name depicts a black chevron between three red roses on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Wikam, which was dated 1218, in the "Feet of Fines of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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