Yarham, Yaram, Yarram, Yarrem,Yarum, Yarrum,Yearham, and others, this is an English late medieval surname. It is almost certainly locational, and from a place called Yarham, meaning the house or hamlet on the River Yar. So far, so good. The River Yar flows through the city of Norwich, in the county of Norfolk, and many of the early recordings such as John Yarham, at the church of St Benedicts, Norwich on September 5th 1588, are from that city. The word Yar or Yare, originally 'ear' - is pre 6th century Celtic and means muddy or possibly slow moving, quite appropriate in this flatland region of East Anglia. Unfortunately we appear to lack the final confirmation. Yarham as a place does not appear to be recorded. The nearest spelling and possibly in the past, the nearest place, being (Great) Yarmouth, or the estuary on the muddy river. Nor apparently is anything to be found in the 'lost' medieval village lists recorded by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. This suggests that perhaps over the centuries Yarham was absorbed by somewhere else, - or like some five thousand others, fell out of use, and simply disappeared, leaving behind the surname in its varied spellings, as the only reminder of its former existence. Locational surnames were usually given to people when they left their original homes to move somewhere else. In this case though it seems they did not travel very far, although there is just a faint possibility that some name holders could originate from Yarm, in North Yorkshire, the only village with a similar spelling. The first church recording we have been able to find is that of Henry Yarum of North Elmham, near Dereham, in Norfolk on January 1st 1539, in the reign of King Henry V111th (1510 - 1547), Wyllyham Yarham of the same village on January 20th 1545, Charles Yarram of Field Balling, Norfolk, in 1555 (no dates), and John Yarrum, at St Julian's church, Norwich, on October 23rd 1636.
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