The surname of DENHOLM was from the Old barony of Denholm in the parish of Cavers, Roxburghshire. The name may also be from Denholm, a parish in Dumfriesshire, in which county there were landowners of the name in the 15th century. 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. 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. Guy de DENUM of Roxburghshire was recorded in the year 1296, and as Guy de DENHOM served as a juror on inquests at Roxburgh and Dumfries between 1303 and 1304. Alan de DENVME purchased the lands of Le Hyllis together with a piece of land lying near Maydebane in 1299. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. Later instances of the name mention Symon DENNUM, who was the heir of lands in the barony of Carnwath in 1506, and Margaret DENNYM appears in Neder Mosplat in 1533. John DENHOLME was ordained commisssarie for the army in 1650. James DENHOLME wrote a history of Glasgow between 1772 and 1818.
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