During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the name CHEATHAM it was a locational name from CHETHAM, a township in the suburb of Manchester, England. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Geoffrey de CHETHAM, who was recorded in Lancashire in the year 1246, and Thomas de CHETEHAM was documented in 1394, County Lancashire. William CHETHAM of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Another instance of the name mention Henry CHETHAM of Crumpsall, Manchester, who was recorded in the Wills at Chester in 1603. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. A later record shows that Joseph CHEETHAM and Sidwell Cornish, were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1758.
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