Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Letham Name
Origins of Letham:
Listed as Leatham and Letham, this is an English locational surname. It is a modification of the more familiar surname Latham, itself from any one of the following places like Latham, in West Yorkshire; Lathom, in Lancashire; and Laytham in East Yorkshire. All of these share the similar meaning and origin, which is “The place of the barns,” from the pre 7th century Old Norse word “hlatha,” which means a barn, and a short form of the Olde English word “ham” which means a house or home. Lathom in Lancashire noted as “Latune” in the Domesday Book of 1086, while Laytham in East Yorkshire shows as “Ladone” in the same document. Locational surnames were usually derived by those old residents of a place who moved to another area and were there then best distinguished by the name of their birthplace. Examples of records contain the wedding of John Leatham, and Kathleen Lee noted in Carlton near Snaith in Yorkshire in January 1626, while Thomas Letham was a christening witness at St Katherines Creechurch, in the city of London, in April 1764.
More common variations are: Letham, Leetham, Leitham, Leytham, Le Tham, Lietham, Laetham, Letam, Leythamm, Lethamma
The surname Letham first appeared in Berwickshire where they held a family seat from old times. Some say well before the Norman Invasion and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 AD.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Robert de Latham, dated about 1204, in the “Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire.” It was during the time of King John, dated 1199 – 1216. 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.
Many of the people with surname Letham had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Letham landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 17th and 19th. Some of the people with the name Letham who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included Richard Letham, who settled in Maryland in 1668. Richard Letham, who came to Maryland in 1668.
The following century saw more Letham surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Letham who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Robert Letharn, who settled in North Carolina in 1813.
Some of the people with the surname Letham who came to Canada in the 18th century included John Letham, who settled in Nova Scotia sometime between 1598 and 1783.
Some of the population with the surname Letham who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included Edward G. Letharn, aged 7, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship “Waitangi” in 1874.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Letham: Scotland 282; United States 215; England 215; Canada 215; Australia 97; New Zealand 92; Russia 10; Spain 8; Czech Republic 5; Thailand 2.
Margaret Letham (born 1956), is a lawn and indoor bowler.
Letham Coat of Arms Meaning
The main device (symbol) in the Letham blazon is the fleur-de-lis. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, gules and argent .
Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found . The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” . Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron , perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
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 .
The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. . The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul” and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms