This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name deriving from any of the various places called Woodham in Buckinghamshire, County Durham, Essex, and Surrey. The place in Buckinghamshire was originally named "Hamm", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hamm", water meadow, while the place in Durham was recorded as "Wodon" in 1091, and derives from the dative plural of the Olde English "wudu", wood, "wudum". The places in Essex, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Udeham", "Odeham", and "Wideham", and that in Surrey as "Wodeham" in 675, all share the same meaning and derivation, "the homestead in the wood", from the Olde English "wudu" wood, with "ham" estate, homestead.The surname dates back to the late 12th Century, (see below). Church Records list the marriage of John Wodhams to Elizabeth Swanson on the 9th October 1617 at East Hanningfield, Essex, and the christening of George, son of Samuell and Ann Woodhams, on the 5th April 1680 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. A Coat of Arms granted to a Woodham family is red, a chevron between three silver roses. The Crest is a buck's head erased between two sprigs of roses all proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander de Wudeham, which was dated 1170, in the "Pipe Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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