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Derham Coat of Arms Meaning

The main device (symbol) in the Derham blazon is the buck’s head. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and azure.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1. 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 2. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.3.

Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” 4. The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance 5.

The chief is an area across the top of the field 6. It appears in many different forms and can itself be charged with other charges and ordinaries, 7, being treated almost as if it were a completely separate area. In its simplest form it can be clearly identified. Early examples include the award by Henry III of England to the knight Robert de MORTEYN BRETON of Ermine, a chief gules.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Derham Coat of Arms and Family Crest

Derham Origin:


Origins of Derham:

Listed as Durham, Derham, Durram and possibly others, this is an English surname, which is also well noted in Ireland. It is locational and can be either from the city of Durham in North East England, Dereham hamlets in the division of Norfolk. Durham City, known as the seat of the Prince Priests, noted as Dunholm in the year 1000 a.d, and as Dunhelme in Historia Anglorum, dated 1122. The origin is from the pre 6th-century words "dun holmr," meaning an island of advanced land partly enclosed by streams, as actual a representation of Durham is possible. However, the two hamlets called Dereham and meant the deer farm, in the division of Norfolk, was first listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Derham, have also given rise to the surname. The surname was first noted in the 12th Century, while other records include William de Durham in the Fines Court Rolls of Essex in 1236, and Robertus de Durham, who was one of twelve Scottish champions selected to settle the laws of the marches in 1249. John de Derham shows in the Hundred Rolls of landholders of Norfolk in 1273, while much later Sir Philip Durham (1763-1845), was injured at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805


More common variations are: Derhami, Dearham, de Rham, Derhamy, Derrham, Duerham, Derhamm, Dierham, Dehrham, Deram.


The surname Derham first appeared in Norfolk at East and West Dereham which records back to at least the Domesday Book where it noted as Dereham and meant "home where deer are kept" having acquired from the Old English doer and ham or hamm.

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Osbert de Dunelm, dated about 1163, in the "Pipe Rolls," London. It was during the time of King Henry II who was known to be the “The Builder of Churches," dated 1154 - 1189. The origin of surnames during this period 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 variations of the original one.


Many of the people with surname Derham had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Derham landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Derham who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included Mary Derharn settled in Boston in 1744. Mary Derharn, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1744.

The following century saw more Derham surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Derham who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Michael, William, and James Derharn who settled in Philadelphia in 1849. B Derharn, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Derham: England 1,000; United States 573; Australia 446; Ireland 191; South Africa 128; New Zealand 111; Wales 68; Scotland 66; Canada 37; Switzerland 36.

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (West Derham, co. Norfolk, bart., extinct 1738). Az. a buck’s head cabossed or. Crest—A bear ramp, sejant sa. muzzled, lined, and ringed or, charged on the shoulder with an annulet ar.
2) Same Arms. Crest—Two hands winged and clasped.
3) (Ireland). Az. three stags’ heads cabossed or. Crest—A demi wolf per pale or and sa.
4) (Crimplesham, co. Norfolk). Same as Derham, of Derham.
5) (Deerham, co. Norfolk). Az. a buck’s head cabossed or. Crest—A bear sejant ramp. sa. muzzled, lined, and ringed or.
6) (Brimelawe, co. Durham). Az. three bucks' heads cabossed or.

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  • 1 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 2 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 3 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 4 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P150
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 40
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chief