The Upham Name in England

Very little of value has yet been learned concerning this interesting matter, though it is believed there is considerable which might be. Dr. Upham — in the ” Notices ” — said :

” Forty or fifty years subsequent to the date of this entry on the charter rolls, we find from the Hundred Rolls, Temp. Henry HI. and Edward I., vol. 2, p. 240 (these rolls contain inquisitions taken in pursuance to a special commission, issued under the Great Seal. This inquisition was taken by jurors chosen from each hundred, and consisted of returns made under oath of all the demesne lands of the crown, manors of the same, wardships, marriages, escheats, etc.), that another person, holding the office of juror in Selkley Hundred, bore this surname : ‘ Hundr’ de Selkel’ Nich’ de Upham jur’ Com’ Wyltes, Ano. 39, Hen. IH.,’ [1255]. Soon afterward we find in the Fine Rolls (in Turr. Londenensis asservatis Henrico Tertio Rege., vol. 2, pp. 375-1246- 1272. Memb. 9. Henry HI., A. D. 1262, commenced in the sixth year of King John, 1204, and finished under Edward IV., 1483.

The rolls comprise a great variety of matter relating to deaths, succession of heirs, descent, division of property, custody of lands, and heirs during minority, liveries, marriages of heiresses and widows, assignments of dower, for forfeitures and pardons, aids and tallages, affairs of Jews, etc.), notice of several persons who bore the same name: ‘Wilts. Hugo de Doveral, t, Letitia ux. ej. Alic. de. Upham. Joh’a, t, Agnes fil. Hug. de Upham dat dimid. marc. p. una as. Cap. coram, m. de Littlebir,’ (that is, Hugo de Doveral — et Letitia uxor ejus, Alicia de Upham, Johanna, et Agnesia, filice Hugonis de Upham, dant dimidum marc, por unaassisa. capta coram. M. de Littlebir Wilts). The date this entry bears is 1262. Before leaving this part of our subject, we may remark that as Hugo de Upham, of Kinwarston Hundred, Hugo, the father of Joanna and Alice, and Nicholas, the juror of Selkley, were all of the same county (Wilts); and that Kinwarston and Selkley Hundreds were contiguous, it is highly probable that all these persons were nearly related. The name still exists in Selkley Hundred as a local name (viz. the tithings of Upper and Lower Upham), in the parish of Aldbourne.

“‘ We have shown, then, by the evidence of the records, that Upham was a surname already in 1208; and we have expressed the opinion that the same record would, by implication, refer this use of the word to a period prior at least to 1140. The latter date brings us very near to the time when the surname, if of Saxon origin, must have been first assumed. Arrived at this point, the mind naturally seeks for the reasons that induced the bearer to take this particular name as a family designation. In general, at the period when family names first began to be used, they were derived either from the profession, or some personal peculiarities of the individuals bearing them, or from his place of residence, or landed estates. In the latter case it was invariably indicated by the use of either the Latin or English particles de, or of, as Philip de Bourbon, John of Lancaster, etc. We shall en- deavor to show that the latter was the fact with regard to the surname Upham ; that it was first given to the family of that name, because they were possessors of land, so called.