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Ronald Basil Girdler

1925 - 2017


Helene Girdler

1927 - 2020

Gorham Story


The name Gorham or Goreham probably originates from an English place name, as it was the original English name for a triangular homestead or river meadow, although it could also have come from Goran in N. France, The Rev. George Cornelius Gorham (1787-1857) traced the family through the de Gorhams and de Gorrams to early 12th century Brittany, to a spot 7 miles W. of the town of Gorham, their castle being situated on a small rivulet at La Tanniere in the Maine. Early references to the name in England include those in the 1273 Hundred Rolls for William de Gorham in Oxfordshire and Hugh de Gorham in Lincolnshire.


The earliest date which I have traced in my direct "Gorham" lineage is in 1791-2, when John Gorham was born. This approximate date was obtained from the fact that when he died in 1868 in the parish of Trimley St. Mary, near Felixstowe, Suffolk, his age was given as 77, whilst his age in the 1861 Census Returns for the same parish was given as 69. Extensive searching in the Suffolk Records Office at Ipswich has shown that a John Gorham was born in the neighbouring parish of Walton on 1st February 1792 (baptized 3rd April 1792) to a Stephen and Pleasant (nee Pawl) Gorham, and it seems likely that this was the same John Gorham as above. If so, he had 2 sisters and 2 brothers as follows:-

Stephen (bap.6th July 1794)

Mary (bap.4th June 1797)

Sarah (bap,26th June 1803)-when she was aged 4. Thus born in 1799.

George (bap.26th June 1803)

Walton was a small village, about 1 mile W. of Felixstowe. To give some idea of its size, in 1801 it had 84 houses (occupied by 130 families) and a total population of 628 (299 male + 329 female). Of these inhabitants, 93 were employed in agriculture and 61 in trade, manufacture or handicraft.