The surname of WHARAM was a locational name 'of Wareham', a town in the County of Dorset, also of Warham, a parish in the County of Norfolk. The name was derived from the Old English word WOERHAM, literally meaning the dweller at the homestead in the valley. Habitation names are derived from names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads or other named places, which include rivers, houses with signs on them, regions, or whole counties. The original bearer of the name who stayed in his area might be known by the name of his farm, or the locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another county could aquire the name of that county or the region from which he originated. Early records of the name mention Henry de Warham of the County of Norfolk in 1273. Richard Wareham was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377), and William Wareham of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Symon Wareham appears in County Norfolk in 1400, and a later instance of the name includes Edward Warum of the County of Dorset who registered at Oxford University in 1583. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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