Kirkham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Kirkham date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Kirkham family lived in the region of Kirham. Kirkham is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.

Early Origins of the Kirkham family

The surname Kirkham was first found in Lancashire at Kirkham, a market-town and parish, in the union of the Fylde, hundred of Amounderness. Dating back to Saxon times, the parish took its name from its church. [1] There is another Kirkham in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The first record of the family was Simon de Kirkeham who was listed in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219. [2] Later, Walter de Kirkham (died 1260) was an English divine, Bishop of Durham. He was of humble parentage, but became one of the royal clerks. He is first listed in records from 1225 when he was chaplain of Eastrington, Yorkshire.

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list: Adam de Kirkham; Agnes de Kyrkham; and Johannes Kvrkam. [3] Despite the name having the Scottish word "kirk" meaning "church" as its root, it was "probably a recent incomer from England to Scotland." [4] Alexander Kircum was listed in parish of Birsay, Scotland in 1640.

Early History of the Kirkham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kirkham research. Another 146 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1575, 1507, 1582, 1523, 1525 and 1582 are included under the topic Early Kirkham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kirkham Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Kirkham are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Kirkham include: Kirkham, Kirkam and others.

Early Notables of the Kirkham family (pre 1700)

Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kirkham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kirkham Ranking

In the United States, the name Kirkham is the 5,912nd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [5]

United States Kirkham migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Kirkham or a variant listed above:

Kirkham Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Kirkham who settled in Maryland in 1774
Kirkham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Watson Kirkham, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1833
  • John Kirkham, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1858

Australia Kirkham migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Kirkham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Peter Kirkham, (Taberner), British convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Competitor"18th March 1823, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • William Kirkham, English convict from Lincoln, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Richard Kirkham, aged 24, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" [8]
  • Thomas Kirkham, aged 28, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" [8]

New Zealand Kirkham 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:

Kirkham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary Kirkham, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Walter Kirkham, aged 33, a brickmaker, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • Ellen Kirkham, aged 33, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • Walter Kirkham, aged 11, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • Ellen Kirkham, aged 9, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Kirkham (post 1700) +

  • Kathleen Kirkham (1895-1961), American silent screen leading lady
  • Stanton Davis Kirkham (1868-1944), American naturalist, philosopher, ornithologist and author
  • Rick Kirkham, American journalist
  • Richard Kirkham (b. 1955), American philosopher
  • John Kenneth Kirkham (1941-2021), English professional footballer who played as a wing half from 1959 to 1970 in over 178 matches
  • Graham Kirkham CVO (b. 1944), Baron Kirkham, an English businessman, founder and chairman of DFS Furniture Company Ltd; he has an estimated personal fortune £1 billion
  • Glenn Kirkham (b. 1982), English field hockey player
  • Fred Kirkham (d. 1949), English football referee and manager of Tottenham Hotspur
  • Tony Kirkham (b. 1957), English botanist
  • Tom Kirkham, English football referee
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Eric James Kirkham (1917-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Shenton Park, Western Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [9]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. James Kirkham (d. 1912), aged 38, English Greaser from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [10]
Senghenydd colliery
  • Mr. John Richard Kirkham (b. 1894), Welsh coal miner from Senghenydd, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. ^
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th March 2021). Retrieved from
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1824 with 9 passengers. Retrieved from
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The SIR EDWARD PARRY 1849. Retrieved from
  9. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from
  10. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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