Recorded in the spellngs of Wilbraham, Willbraham and Wilbram, this unusual name is English. It is of locational origins from either "Wilbraham", a manor in Cheshire or "Great and Little Wilbraham" in Cambridgeshire, the latter recorded as "Wilburgeham" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, circa 1000, and "Wilburham Magna, Parva" in the Valuation of Norwich, 1254. The place name itself is composed of the Old English female personal name "Wilburg", made up of "Wil", desire and "burh", fortress, plus the second element "-ham", the Old English word for "enclosure, water meadow". The surname first appears in records in the mid 13th Century, (see below). William de Wilburgham was mentioned in 1286, in the Calendar of Patent Rolls. Margret, daughter of John and Ann Wilbraham was christened at Nantwich, Cheshire on April 8th 1543, while at Prestbury, in Cheshire, Ann Wilbram married Randall Lawton on June 26th 1572. One Thomas Wilbraham, one of the early settlers in the New World, was a small landowner in St. George the Barbadoes in 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Wilburgham, which was dated 1259, "Shirley's Noble and Gentle Men", during the reign of King Henry 111, "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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