Malham Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Malham Origin:


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

Notable People:

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.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (impalement Fun. Ent. Ulster’s Office, 1628, Sir Lawrence Parsons, Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, whose wife was Anne Malham, co. York). Gu. three chevronels interlaced ar. on a chief or, a lion pass. az.
2) (Elsack, co. York). Gu. three chev. in base ar. on a chief or, a lion pass. guard az. a fleur-de-lis for diff., quartering, 1st, Radcliffe, ar. a bend engr. sa. charged with an annulet or, and in the sinister chief point an escallop sa.; 2nd, Dawtrey, az. five fusils in fess ar. surmounted by a bendlet gu.; 3rd, Hewick, gu. a lion ramp. within an orle of roundlets ar.

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