Kelham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Kelham family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived at Kelham in Nottinghamshire, a parish northwest of Newark. The name Kelham is derived from the Old Norse expression for at the ridges. It is most commonly found in Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire.

Early Origins of the Kelham family

The surname Kelham was first found in Nottinghamshire. "A Norman family, who derive their name from Kelham, near Newark-upon-Trent, co. Nottingham, where they were seated at an early period. They still bear in their arms three covered cups, in allusion to the office of cup-bearer to Alan, earl of Richmond, the Conqueror's son-in-law, which was held by their ancestor. " [1]

This was the place that Charles I. spent his last night before he gave himself up to the Scottish army, who encamped on the spot in May, 1646. [2]

Early History of the Kelham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kelham research. Another 73 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kelham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kelham 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 Kellam, Kelham and others.

Early Notables of the Kelham family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Kelham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Kelham migration to the United States +

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 Kelham name or one of its variants:

Kelham Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Timothy Kelham, who arrived in Boston in 1763 with his wife and servants
Kelham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Kelham, who arrived in New Orleans in 1821

New Zealand Kelham migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Kelham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • G Kelham, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship London
  • James Kelham, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship "London"
  • James Kelham, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Georgenia Kelham, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "London" in 1842

Contemporary Notables of the name Kelham (post 1700) +

  • George William Kelham (1871-1936), American architect most active in the San Francisco area
  • Robert Kelham (1717-1808), English attorney and legal antiquary, son of Robert Kelham, vicar of Billingborough, Threckingham
  • Christopher Kelham, British film actor and producer, best known for his lead role as Dale in the 2010 film The Cost of Love
  • James Kelham (1796-1882), New Zealand businessman and politician, Member of the 1st New Zealand Parliament for City of Wellington (1854-1855)

The Kelham Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Beneficiorum memor
Motto Translation: Mindful of benefits.

  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print. on Facebook
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