This surname was a locational name 'the dweller in the valley' a name familiar to County Lancashire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Thomas Rowsbotham, 1300 County Lancashire. William de Rossebotham, of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th until the 15th century. They had not been in use in England before the Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, when they were introduced into England by the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for a gentleman to have but one single name, as the meaner sort. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that it became general practice for all people. Later instances of the name mention Robert Rowe and Dorythye Robottom who were married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1546, and Oliver Robotham of County Buckinghamshire, registered at Oxford University in the year 1592. Thomas Rowbotham of Winwick, County Lancashire was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1613. William Rowbotham and Sarah Owen were married in London in the year 1626. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory (Robotham).
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