Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Malham Name
Origins of Malham:
This interesting and long-established surname is of Old Scandinavian origin and is a geographical name from the church and hamlet of Malham on the River Aire in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Listed as “Malgun” in the Domesday Book of 1086 as “Malghum” in the 1208 Feet of Fines and as “Malgum” in the 1257 Charter Rolls, the place so called from the dative plural of a Scandinavian word associated with the Swedish lake name “Maljen”, or “Malghe”, ultimately from “malg, maligr”, which means gravelly soil, sandbank. So, “stony or gravelly place.” Locational surnames, like this, originally given to local landholders, and the king of the palace, and especially as a source of classification to those who departed from their birthplace to settle elsewhere. The surname was especially well noted in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire, and entries contain as Stephen de Malgham, draper; Thomas de Mallum and Adam de Mallom. In the new phrase, the name is variously spelt as Malham, Maleham, Mallam and Malam. In Mary 1680, Jane Maleham and Edward Norman married in London. A Royal symbol given to the family is a red shield with three silver chevrons in the base, on a gold chief an azure lion passant guardant.
More common variations are: Mealham, Malhame, Malhiam, Malam, Malhaame, Malhamma, Mallam, Milham, Maylam, Melham
The surname Malham first appeared in Sussex where they held a family seat as Kings of the Manor. The Saxon command of English history declined after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries, and the Norman atmosphere prevailed. But Saxon surnames remained and the family name first introduced in the year 1230 when William de Malham held a family seat at Malham Farm.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of John de Malghom, dated about 1379, in the “Roll Tax Returns of Yorkshire.” It was during the time of King Richard II who was known to be the “Richard of Bordeaux,” dated 1377 – 1399. 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 Malham had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Malham: England 274; United States 223; Australia 33; Canada 27; Scotland 26; New Zealand 21; Spain 6; India 6; Wales 3; Lebanon 3
Malham is a hamlet and local church in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. Before 20th-century boundary changes, the hamlet was part of the Settle Rural District, in the historic West Riding of Yorkshire. In the Domesday Book, the name given as Malgun, which means “settlement by the gravelly places.” In 2001, the parish had a population of around 150. Malham church increased in size geographically (to include Malham Moor) and so at the 2011 poll had a population of 238.
Malham Coat of Arms Meaning
The two main devices (symbols) in the Malham blazon are the chevronel and lion passant. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, argent and or .
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 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..
Readers may already be aware of the chevron, the large inverted ‘V’ shape that extends across the whole shield but may be new to its smaller cousin the chevronel. This can equally cover the whole width but is at least half the width of the chevron, if not narrower. There can be multiple chevronels present, normally these are stacked vertically, but there is a very striking variant whereby the chevronels are said to be interlaced, in which case they are side-by-side, overlapping and intertwined, creating a very striking effect . In common with its larger relative, Wade associates the chevronel with the idea of “Protection…and a reward to one who has achieved a notable enterprise” .
There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms . The lion passant is an example of these modified form, showing the creature on all fours, as if walking proudly. In common with all reprensentations of the lion it can be taken to be an “emblem of deathless courage”.