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Whigham Coat of Arms / Whigham Family Crest

Whigham Coat of Arms / Whigham Family Crest

The surname of WHIGHAM was a locational name 'of Wickham'. There are many spots and parishes of this name in counties Kent, Gloucester, Essex, Suffolk and Berkshire. It has been established that 'WICHAM' was an Old English term for a settlement, associated with a Roman-British town, in this case being an adaption of the Latin 'VICUS'. 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 acquire the name of that county or the region from which he originated. Early records of the name mention WIQUENNA (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and WYKEWANNE (without surname) appears in Gloucester in the year 1220. William de Wykham was documented in the year 1273 in County Oxford. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name. The name is now also common in Ireland, especially in County Wexford, where it was taken by followers of Cromwell; it also occurs there in the form Wycomb. An old form of this name Wycomb is on record in Ireland since 1335. One Wickham was a prominent Cromwellian official, although the majority were identified with the Irish cause, being among those transplanted to Connacht or outlawed as Jacobites. Apart from the City of Dublin the name Wickham has for the past two centuries been mainly found in County Wexford.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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