Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Denham Name
Origins of Denham:
This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is locational from places so called in Buckinghamshire and Suffolk and a place called “Denholme” in Yorkshire. The place name acquired from the Old English pre 7th Century “denu”, a valley and “ham”, a homestead, thus the dweller at the farm in the valley. Locational surnames developed when old residents of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and best recognized by the name of their birthplace. The name advancement since 1176 includes as John de Deneholme (1332, Lancashire) and John Denham (1466 – 1467, Surrey). One William Denham noted as living at Warwick, Squeake, Virgina, in February 1623. The christening of Alexander, son of Thomas and Sarah Denham, noted in February 1639 at St. Ann’s, Blackfriars, London.
More common variations are: Deanham, Deenham, Denhoam, Dienham, Deunham, Denhame, Denam, Doenham, Deinham, Dennham, Denhame.
The surname Denham first appeared in Denholrn, a small village located between Jedburgh and Hawick in the Scottish Borders. As early as the 16th century, the village was named Denum and was frequently raided and burnt during English raids of that time. There are three churches named Denham in England where the local acquired from the Old English word “denu” and “ham” meaning “homestead or village in a valley.” In Buckinghamshire, Denham is today a village and civil church in the union of Eton and comprises 3780 acres. It noted as Deneham in 1066 and later as Daneham in the Domesday Book. Denham, Suffolk is near Bury St Edmunds and was listed as Denham in 1086. There is another Denham in Suffolk which lies near Eye, and in this latter case, it was spelt Denham in 1086. Conjecturally, the family was descended from W. Hurrant, a Norman noble, who was granted the lands of Denham by William the Champion and joined Denham Castle, and today the earthworks of the moat and bailey remain.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Richard de Deneham, dated 1176, in the Pipe Rolls of Buckinghamshire. It was during the reign of King Henry 11, who was known as “The Builder of Churches”, dated 1154-1189. Surname all over the country became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.
United States of America:
Some of the people with the name Denham who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included William Denham who settled in Virginia in 1623. William Denham, who landed in Virginia in 1623. Walter Denham, who arrived in Virginia in 1653. Charles Denham settled in Barbados in 1660. Richard Denham settled in Virginia in 1670. People with the surname Denham who landed in the United States in the 18th century included Thomas Denham, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1715-1721. James Denham, who arrived in Maryland in 1716. James Denham settled in Maryland in 1716. Joseph Denham, who came to Mississippi in 1798. Reuben Denham, who landed in Mississippi in 1798.
The following century saw many more Denham surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Denham who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Alex Denham, who landed in America in 1804. Ann Denham, who came to America in 1804. Alexander Denham, aged 37, arrived in New York in 1812. John D Denham, aged 28, landed in New York in 1812. Christopher Richard Denham, who landed in New York in 1836.
Some of the individuals with the surname Denham who landed in Australia in the 19th century included Samuel Denham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Lady Emma” in 1837. Ann Sophia Denham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Lady Emma” in 1837. Alfred Denham, English convict from London, who moved aboard the “Anna Maria” in March 1848, settling Australia. Sarah Denham arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship “Warren Hastings.”
Denham Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Denham blazon are the crane, fusil and martlet. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, argent and gules .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries . Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone..
Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name . In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance . Guillim reckons the stork to the “emblem of filial duty” and also the “symbol of a grateful man”.
The fusil is a shape rather like a lozenge but taller and narrower, hence fusily refers to a field of similar shapes arranged in a regulat pattern. It is though that the shape originally derived from that of a spindle of yarn. Wade believes that the symbol is of very great age and quotes an earlier writer, Morgan who ascribes it the meaning of “Negotiation”.
The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. . Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” . Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.