Origin of the Name Durham
The ancient history of the name Durham
was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives. The name Durham has a number of variants including Derham, Durgame, Dunhelm, Durhim and Durram. This is an ancient name of locational orign taken from the old words 'dun' meaning a hill and 'holm' meaning an island. This name is usually of English descent and is found in many ancient manuscripts in that country. Examples of such are a William de Durham who was recorded as being a witness in the 'Fine Court Rolls of Essex' in the year 1236. A Walter Durham of Dumfriesshire is recorded as having rendered homage to Edward I in the year 1296. An Osbert de Dunelm was recorded in the 'Pipe Rolls of London' in the year 1163. Names were recorded in these ancient documents to make it easier for their overlords to collect taxes and to keep records of the population at any given time. When the overlords acquired lands by either force or gifts from their rulers, they created charters of ownership for themselves and their vassals. In Ireland this name and its variants are most associated with Dublin , Drogheda and Cork as are found in records as early as the fourteenth century.
The Durham coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Durham descendants.