Meaning and Origin of: Pelham

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First name origins & meanings:

  • Old English : Scarf

First name variations

Last name origin & meaning:

  • English (mainly Sussex) : habitational name from Pelham in Hertfordshire, so called from the Old English personal name Pēotla + Old English hām ‘homestead’.
  • The manor of Pelham in Hertfordshire, England, was held by Walter de Pelham in the reign of Edward I (1272–1307). His descendants became constables of Pevensey Castle, Sussex, and were so influential that their badge, the buckle, is seen in at least eleven of the county’s churches, and as a decoration on iron chimney-backs in Sussex farmhouses. Various branches of the family were ennobled and their titles include earl of Chichester and earl of Yarborough. The family also once held the dukedom of Newcastle and the marquessate of Clare. Peter Pelham (b. c. 1695), an engraver, emigrated to Boston after 1728, and was stepfather to the artist John Singleton Copley.