This name KILHAM was derived from the Old Danish personal name Killi or Kille. Early records of the name mention Cille (without surname) listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. There is a place Kilham, a small parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, from where the name may also have sprung. During the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named from the village where he lived, or from where he held his land. This name would identify his whole family, and follow them wherever they moved. Other records include Godwine filius Chille who was recorded in 1187 in County Somerset. Robert Kyle appears in 1327 in County Suffolk. Richard Marsh and Jane Kilham were married at Canterbury in the year 1709, and Marmaduke Killin and Julia Ann Christie were married there in 1845. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. In Ireland the name is CILL, a locational name 'the dweller near a church'. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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