The surname DITCHAM is a locational name from the placename DITCHAM in Burton, Hampshire, half a mile from the Sussex border. The root of the name comes from the Old English 'DIC' meaning dyke or earthwork. The medieval dyke was larger and more prominent than the modern ditch, and was usually constructed for purposes of defence rather than drainage. 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. Early records mention Walter de DECHEHAM on the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296 and Thomas DITCHAM on the Suffolk Hearth Tax Returns of 1674. Another spelling of the name is DITCHUM. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France.
The bear has generally been regarded with a mixture of fear and amusement, due to its strength and unpredictable temper on the one hand and its clumsy gait on the other. Both these qualities are no doubt reflected in the choice of using the animal in the crest. Throughout the Middle Ages the bear was a familiar figure in popular entertainments such as bear baiting and dancing bears.
Orders over $90 qualify for Free Shipping within the U.S. (Use coupon code: FREESHIP).