Forteshan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Forteshan reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Forteshan family lived in Essex, in the town of Fordham. Ancient records reveal the name Forteshan is derived from the Old English ford, which means ford, and ham, which means homestead. Towns bearing this name also exist in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Fordham Essex is arguably the most important of these towns, but all were held by Norman nobles in the 11th century.
Early Origins of the Forteshan family
The surname Forteshan was first found in Essex where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Fordham. In the Domesday Book,  a survey of England undertaken for Duke William of Normandy in 1086 A.D. after his conquest of England at Hastings in 1066, there were three villages or manors named Fordham, one in Cambridgeshire, one in Norfolk and one in Essex, all were held by Norman nobles.
The one which was most influential and gave rise to the name Fordham was that of Fordham in Essex which was held by William de Warrene and others. In the survey of 1086 the village consisted of a Mill, 6 Beehives, and 25 goats. It was the Norman custom that the senior son should continue the main line name, but that the second son should adopt the name of the manor.
"A small Gilbertine priory was founded in the reign of Henry III., by Sir Robert de Fordham, [in Fordham, Cambridgeshire] as a cell to the great monastery of the same order at Sempringham, in Lincolnshire; but scarcely a vestige remains." 
John Fordun (d. 1384?), was the writer upon whom Walter Bower based the earlier part of his great work, the 'Scotichronicon.' Fordun wrote fifteen of the first twenty-three chapters of book. 
Early History of the Forteshan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forteshan research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 138 and 1388 are included under the topic Early Forteshan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Forteshan Spelling Variations
Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Forteshan include Fordham, Fordeham, Fordsham, Fordesham, Fordam and others.
Early Notables of the Forteshan family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Forteshan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Forteshan family
In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Forteshans to arrive on North American shores: Robert Fordham who settled in Massachusetts in 1635; Edward Fordham settled in Rappahannock Virginia in 1728; George Fordham settled in Pennsylvania in 1773.
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- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print