This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and may be either a topographical or a locational name. As a topographical name, the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century phrase "atten innome, atte ninnome", at the enclosed ground, with the Olde English "innam", Middle English "innom", meaning "piece of enclosed ground". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, as topographical features, whether natural or man-made, provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages.If locational, Nineham derives from any of the various places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "neowe", Middle English "newe", new, with "ham", village, homestead. These places include: Ninham in Wiltshire; Ninham on the Isle of Wight, and Ninhams in the Caterham and Warlingham urban district of Surrey. The Wiltshire place was recorded as "Newenham" in the "Inquisitiones post mortem" of that county, dated 1310. On August 10th 1618, Thomas Nineham and Margery Strood were married in Swanage, Dorset, and on March 31st 1747, the marriage of Mary Nineham to Benjamin Dusnap took place at St. Mary's, Portsea, Hampshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Neunenham, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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