The surname of GERHAM was ostensibly from the medieval given name of the same spelling which achieved some popularity in France and elsewhere, being given in honour of St. Jerome (347-420) one of the four great Latin Fathers, who prepared the Vulgate version of the Bible. However this was a rare given name in the Middle Ages. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. Registered in Lorraine, France. 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. The name was taken to Scotland by early settlers where it is found in Shetland. The name was brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066 and early records of the name mention Geram de Curzon, 1206, Berkshire. Jeronimus de Normaneby appears in the year 1230 in London and Edward Jerrom of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Peter Jerrome was documented in County York in 1604.
In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The name has variant spellings which include Jerrome, Jerram, Jerran and Jaram.
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