Origin of Durham

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Origin of Durham

Total Records: 3 
Origin of Durham, Meaning of Durham

Origin: From: Early History of Dyrham House, Dyrham Park, Glos

"The name DYRHAM is generally thought to derive from the Saxon ?deor-hamm? meaning deer enclosure. If so, then Dyrham is amongst the oldest deer parks in the country.

Another derivation is the British ?dwr? meaning water. The numerous springs in the hills form a brook which once ran close by the Stablrs.

Dyrham is first metioned in the Saxon Chronicle of 891 AD. This records that in the year 577, Ceaulin, the king of the West Saxons, and his son Cuthwine killed 3 British kings at Deorrhamm together with many of their followers, thereby capturing 3 important cities ? Cleancester, Cyrenceaster and Bathanceaster. The battle enabled the Saxons to reach the Bristol Channel and cut off the Welsh Britons from their allies in the South West and was therefore was a significant victory. Hinton Hill, a mile from Dyrham, has terraces and earthworks which are thought to be the remains of a Saxon Settlement."

Given the above information, it can be conjectured that the linguistic origins of the surname DERHAM may have led to more than one group of people with the surname who arose separately and unrelated. The Saxons were all over Britain and therefore so was their language. They were prolific on the east coast, which explains the large DER(E)HAM family (more about them later) in the villages of the same name in Norfolk. Regional accents provide for the modern day differences in spelling.

As for DURHAM, the above quote provides for the city in the north of England and also some people with this surname BUT as all we DERHAMS know, even today we can still spell out D-E-R-H-A-M to people and they STILL write it incorrectly! I have found my DERHAM ancestors on censuses as DURHAM, DARHAM and god knows what else.

There are also the 2 villages in Norfolk, England called East and West DEREHAM. The DER(E)HAM family were nobility and landowners in this area for many years - a few hundred. They intermarried with the HOWARDS, the BOLEYNS (aka the BULLENS), the CULPEPPERS, the DANVERS, and the VILLIERS families to name but a few. It is conjectured that when Francis Der(e)ham was executed on December 18th 1541 at Tyburn for having relations with King Henry the 8th's wife Katherine Howard, his (Francis Der(e)ham's) brothers fled Norfolk to the West Country (hence the concentration of Derhams in Somerset even now) and one to Ireland (expl?). Until recently this was just Family Oral History. My good old (!) Dad somehow came into possession of a book that documents the DERHAMS of Norfolk and gives a serious case for the DERHAMS of Somerset being descended from THOMAS, brother of FRANCIS DERHAM. Dad also has the family tree of DERHAMS in Bristol who link to our own line in North Curry. The data he has lines up with the data in the book ... the actual physical proof that links my Somerset and Bristol DERHAMS hasn't yet surfaced but the names in the book and Dad's family tree are almost a perfect match. Watch this space! For those of you also in my line, you will have noticed the intermarriages mentioned above - we might be related to not only headless Francis, but also Katherine Howard, Anne Boleyn, another of Katherine's boyfriend called Thomas Culpepper and Henry VIII by marriage! Away with ye, peasants!

I was once told that DERHAM is a possible translation of the surname FARMER - from which language, I don't know.

There is the French surname DE RHAM and the dutch VAN DER HAM.

I recently found a website (on the DERHAM Links Page) concerning an IRANIAN by whose name was DERHAM. This is the most remarkable information I have come across yet!

There was also a vast estate in Ireland called DERHAM - but it has yet to be proven whether the family that named it was Irish or English (possibly a link back to the brother of Francis Dereham?)

From Phillip Derham:

Of Jutish stock - allegedly from a 9th century Jutish family (headed by Alaric?) in what is now Norfolk.

In the C14 and C15 served the Dukes of Norfolk as major domos

An alternative derivation of the surname is a mis-spelling of the name of a famous (?C8-9th) battle in south west England called "Deoram" or something similar.

Where factual evidence is available, a Derham was the English ambassador to the Papal Court during Charles II's reign, but we have been unable to link him to our family.

My (Phillip) great grandfather, Frederick who was born in England, made and lost money in the 1890s land boom here, and, while he had the money, applied for a grant of a coat of arms. That was granted, but with a different crest to that of the C17 Ambassador, suggesting that my great grandfather was unable to identify a relationship over the 2 centuries. Interestingly, an Irish Derham family also has a similar coat of arms, but instead of one deer's head, their shield has 3 deer's heads and a different crest.
Surnames: Derham, Dyrham, Dereham, Durham, Darham
Submitted by:
Origin of Durham, Meaning of Durham

Origin: Does anyone know the parents of William Durham b.1773 m. Catherine (unknown)
Surnames: durham
Submitted by: Norma J.
Origin of Durham, Meaning of Durham

Origin: DURHAM'S of early PA. 1700 and earlier
Surnames: DURHAM
Submitted by: David B. Durham

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