The surname of ELLINGHAM was a locational name 'of Ellingham' parishes in the diocese of Durham, Norwich and Winchester. 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. The name was probably brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during and in the wake of the Invasion of 1066, are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror were a pretty mixed lot, and while some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, many were adventurers of different nationalities attached to William's standard by the hope of plunder, and possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property. Early records of the name mention Ralph de Elingham, cellarer of Hoxne Priory, Norwich in 1272. William de Elyngham was documented in County Cambridge in the year 1273 and Ralph of Elyngham, rector of Great Ellingham was documented in County Norfolk 1362. Edward Ellynghame of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Thomas Ellinghamme appears in the same record. 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 instance of the name mentions William Ellingham who married Christian Doe at St. Jame's, Clerkenwell, London in 1690.
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