This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from either Pagham in Sussex, which appeared as "Pecgan ham" in the Saxon Chronicles of 680, and as "Pageham" in the Domesday Book of 1086; or Pakenham in Suffolk, recorded as "Pakenham", circa 950 in the Saxon Chronicles, and as "Pachenham" in the Domesday Book. The former placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Paecga", and the Olde English "-ham", an enclosure, water meadow, while the place in Suffolk is composed of the initial element "Pacca", an Olde English personal name, and "-ham", as above. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, resulting in a wide dispersal of the name in a number of variant forms. Variants of the surname include Padgham (Sussex), and Pakenham (Suffolk). Recordings from Sussex Church Registers include the marriage of Robert Pekham and Joane Salter on December 4th 1578, at Cocking, and the marriage of Mary Packham and Henry Chautler on June 28th 1607, at Barcombe. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Pakynham, the illegitimate son of the great-grandson of the founder of the Church of Pakenham, which was dated 1100, in the "Medieval Suffolk Registers", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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