Origin of the Surname  - TAME.

Introduction My Branch of family Other Tame websites Useful Links The River Tame Recent contacts

According to Bardsley's Dictionary of English and Welsh surnames, the name Tame (and Thame) is a local surname signifying residence beside the river Thame. It appears to have originated in 12th Century Oxfordshire.

Could you be a descendant of John de Tame who is listed in the "Hundred rolls" (a twelfth century census document), or Claricia de Tame who lived in Oxford in 1273, or Roger Thame - Abbot of Abingdon from 1334 to 1361

The prefix "de" means "of" or "from" and was common in early instances of local surnames but was later dropped from the name in most cases.

Perhaps you are a descendant of Alexander Tame of Sparsholt who gave £35 to the poor in 1786 or Leonard Tame who owned an Off Licence in Abingdon in 1920. (I believe that branch of family are related to me and moved to Scotland)

There are Essex and Gloucestershire branches of the Tame Family who may not be related at all, although Gloucestershire was just along a main coach route from Oxford to Bristol. I have now also discovered groups of Tames in Warwickshire and Cardiff, South Wales

You could be related to one of the Gloucestershire Tames  (John Tame and his son Edmund) who were responsible for the building of the 15th century church in Fairford in Gloucestershire, or perhaps you are related to Hubert Tame of Stanford who's name appears on the Scottish War memorial in Edinburgh Castle, a victim of World war 1 serving in a Scottish regiment.

The tomb of John Tame is in St Mary's church at Fairford.

More recent members of the 'Tame' family include Rachel de Thame, a presenter on the BBC's Gardeners' World, also responsible for decorating the Queens barge for use in the Queen's Diamond Anniversary celebration last year. Rachel is one of a few still using the original 'de Thame' variation of the surname after her marriage to Gerard de Thame, Film Director.

I am in contact with a number of people who are researching their Tame Family History, so if you are one of them I would be pleased to hear from you at my Email address below.

I have now had a DNA test and have located a minimum of 180 possible cousins. I am now in the process of identifying where we have common ancestors, which is proving to be interesting but rather time consuming.

Recent contacts

August 2019 - . Louise Tame has contacted me, she is also descended from the Joseph Tame mentioned below, and we are trying to find evidence of where in UK he was born.

April 2019 - . Wayne Tame has contacted me, he is descended from a Frederick Tame born in 1927. There is a possibility we are distantly related and both have links to the Marcham Tame families.

February 2019 - I have had an email from Alan Richards, from Hereford, who is descended from a Charles Tame of Ardington, Berkshire. As a result I now have a large tree from this Charles Tame, who maried twice, but as yet have not found a link to my family from it. Also in February I had an email from Shanelle Tame who has ancestors fro Abingdon who may be related to me, as yet unproven.

November 2018 - I have had an email from Denise Hall, nee Tame in USA, she moved there in 1980's from South Africa where this branch of the family appear to have been since around 1900. Prior to that they were in Warwickshire in UK, where I can trace them back to the late 1700's. I have not established if they are linked to my branch of family, who were in Berkshire at that time.

August 2018 - I have had an interesting email from an Anne Smittle in USA, who has an ancestor Joseph Tame, born around 1750 in UK.

It would appear that Joseph signed up for the 29th Regiment of Foot, before 1771, which was at the time of the American Revolutionary War (The regiment took part in the Boston Massacre) and he was sent to Canada in 1776 to defend Quebec which was under seige from the American army. Later, as a member of the Grenadier unit under the command of Lieutenant General John Burgoyne he headed down from Montreal to Saratoga in New York State.

Both the Light Infantry Company and Grenadier Company saw action at the Battle of Hubbardston and both companies surrendered with the rest of Burgoyne's Army after the defeats at Battle of Freeman's Farm and Battle of Bemis Heights in September and October 1777.

After his release from capture, Joseph together with some other captured soldiers deserted the army and became an American Citizen. He married an American Girl and descendants of the family are still there.

The regiment may have been formed in Worcestershire, UK, as it was renamed the 29th Worcestershire regiment of foot around 1780. I have not as yet discovered any link between Joseph and our Tame family, but am still reseaching.

March 2018 - Sorry I fell behind with reporting contacts with other Tames, I will try to report any new ones.

July 2015 - I have not had any contacts recently but continue to reserch the family as new records become available online.

Jan 2012 - I have received a number of pictures from Australia of memorials to Thomas Tame, who dies in an unfortunate accident in the Old McGregor Mine in Australia. He came from Long Wittenham in Berkshire where he was born about 1875, very close to where my family lived, although I haven't established a link so far. Click here for more info on Thomas Tame If any reader thinks they may be related to Thomas then please let me know.

Anyone interested in Australian/Tasmanian Fam history could give this site a try: Gentree Australia. She was kind enough to supply me with one of the Photographs below.
Alternatively try searching for Thomas Tame and Wee Mcgregor at This site

Dec 2011 - I have heard from a branch of the family now in Ripon and Doncaster, Yorkshire but previously from London and Reading.

I have also heard from another branch from the London Area and one from Bristol area. None of these three families have been linked to my family tree at the present time, but both the London family seem to have Frederick as a prominent name.

Dec 2009 - I heard from a branch of the family now in Jamaica, having emigrated there from Plymouth earlier this century. Also from another Australian branch. Neither of these have been linked to my family tree at the present time

Oct 2009 - I have an email from Christobel Davies, a descendant of William Tame (1805) of Marcham, through his Daughter, Caroline (1849). Chris sent me a picture of Caroline Tame of Marcham.

Sept 2009 - Kim, in Australia, is descended from Thomas Tame (1831) of Stoke Goldington, who emigrated in 1849 on the ship Diana. Thomas appears to be the son of John and Ann Tame of Stoke Goldington in Buckinghamshire.

I heard from Sharon in Texas, USA, her daughter has married Richard John Tame of Newcastle UK, eldest son of Kenneth and Elizabeth.

Links to other Tame websites > Thames and Timms Websites



(Joseph Tame)

My branch of the Tame family

I was born in Wolverhampton, as was my Father (George Albert - b. 1919), and my Grandfather (George Henry b. 1891) and I at first thought that my family could have been named after the local river (see below). It did not take long however to discover that my Great Grandfather (Charles John - b. 1865) had moved to Wolverhampton from Abingdon, Berkshire around 1890 and the local river name was just a co-incidence. His father (George) was also born in Abingdon (in 1846) and was the 7th of 12 children of John Tame , who was born in the village of Marcham near Abingdon in 1806, and his wife Ann Leonard. I have recently had a contact from a Descendant of Ann Leonard, so I now know a bit more about that side of the tree.

Quite a few of my family, including my father and grandfather, seem to have been employed in the brewing trade, both in Abingdon where there were 50 breweries in the early 19th century and Wolverhampton where there were 3 - Wm. Butlers Springfield Brewery, Russell's Brewery, and Banks's Brewery. Butlers Wm. Butlers Springfield Brewery took over Russell's Brewery in 1927.

Wm Butler later merged with Mitchells & Butlers and then with Bass before it was closed around 1990, Banks's Brewery, now part of Marstons Group, is still brewing in year 2018.

Wm Butler created a war memorial to remember employees who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2 and it also recorded the names of brewery workers who served and survived to return to the Brewery. Four members of my Family are to be found on there, Click on this link to see more.

I have discovered that we seem to have relatives in London who spell their surname 'Thame' and they appear to have changed to this spelling of the name during the 1800's. It is not difficult to see how this happens as a lot of people could not write at that time and relied upon someone else to record their names on official and other documents.

My Ancestry Chart, with links to additional information about my Tame and Proom ancestors.

To find out more

Tame Family - Blazon of arms: Or, a dragon vert and a lion azure crowned or.

The dragon is considered to be the guardian and spirit of all knowledge. The lion is a symbol of Majesty and Kingship.

(Or is Gold, Vert is Green and Azure is blue, so the blazon is a Green Dragon and a Blue Lion wearing a crown on a Gold Background)

Tame Family Motto : Non nobis solum

Translation : Not for ourselves alone

Tame Family Crest: A Cock reguardant proper

The cock is a bird of great courage and in heraldry it signifies a hero in the field.

Tame trivia

Useful Links

Note: Bob takes no responsibility for the content of the external internet sites these links may lead to.

National Archives



General Register office, where you can search birth and death records and order certificates online.

Ancestry.co.uk - The amount of records on this site is continually being expanded. I have found lots of information on here and have my family tree (TameProomEvans) on here as well.

Trees.ancestry.co.uk Ancestry have advised me of this second link to their site, which leads to their family tree resource, a publicly-available feature of their site that might be of value to you. If you are not already a member it will allows you to start a tree by putting in just your name and age and the name of one of your parents. Ancestry will supply you with a username and password when you use this feature.

Scottish Ancestry

Commonwealth War Graves Commission To find members of your family who have died serving their country click here to visit the site.

Find My Past Website (Also being expanded on a regular basis. You can search on here for your ancestors in newspaper articles)


Thames and Timms Websites

Genes Reunited

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The River

The River Thame from which our name derives, got its name from the celtic word meaning dark.

The River Thame which the earliest instances of the family name comes from flows through the town of Thame in Oxfordshire before entering the Thames near Dorchester.

A second River Tame springs up in Wednesfield, near Wolverhampton, flows South through Birmingham (in a Culvert under the M6 near Spaghetti Junction) before turning North through Tamworth into the River Trent.

The headquarters of the Severn-Trent Water Authority is in TAME HOUSE in Newhall St, Birmingham.

A third River Tame flows through Manchester (area known as Tameside), probably into the Mersey.

I have now discovered that there is a fourth River Tame, on an old map of Teignmouth, Devon, flowing under the town and into the River Teign.

Page last updated 07/03/2020

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