Frencham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Frencham is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Frencham family lived in Norfolk, in the village of Fransham
Early Origins of the Frencham family
The surname Frencham was first found in Norfolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of the village of Fransham. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book,  indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, the village of Fransham in 1086 was held by Gilbert from William de Warenne, the overlord whose line later became the Dukes of Warwick. Conjecturally, the Fransham name is directly descended from Gilbert, who was probably the son or nephew of William of Warenne. William, Count of Warren in Normandy, was a great friend and trusted companion of Duke William, the Conqueror of England in 1066. He married Gundreda, daughter of Queen Matilda. William, who fought at the Battle of Hastings, was one of the nobles who ruled England when Duke William returned to Normandy from time to time. At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 Fransham consisted of 3 mills. It is now two villages, Great and Little Fransham.
Important Dates for the Frencham family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Frencham research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1198, 1273, and 1334 are included under the topic Early Frencham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Frencham Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Fransham, Francham, Frensham, Frenchum, Franchum, Franchem, Franshem, Frencham, Franchomme and many more.
Early Notables of the Frencham family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Frencham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Frencham family
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Frencham name or one of its variants: Stephen Frensham settled in Virginia in 1728; and a Mr Franchomme, who settled in Louisiana in 1719.
Contemporary Notables of the name Frencham (post 1700)
- Mike Frencham, American actor and producer, known for Japanese Story (2003), Southern Cross (2004) and The Shark Net (2003)
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)