I have found that the name dates back to the Norman Conquest. The name Headlam was adopted by a Norman family called Roussell. Hugue de Roussel is believed to have come over with William the Conqueror from the seignieurie of Rosel in the Cotentin. They were a branch of the Bertrams, Barons of Briquebec. According to this source the line was William Bertram, Baron of Briquebec, Hugues de Rosel (I), Hugues de Rosel (II) & Robert de Rosel. It was Hugues de Rosel II who came over with William, and who may well of fought in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Hugues de Rosel obtained lands from William the Conqueror in the 1100ís. They became the Roussell díHeadlamís.
The origins of the Headlam name comes from a heath or waste land in Anglo-Saxon, which was a "haedh", and the term "haedh lea" was applied to the clearing over grown with heather. This may of become "haedh leam" and from these two local terms we gain the names of Hedley, Headley and Headlam. This later name was Hedlum in an old Roll of the year 1190, in the vicinity of what is now Barnard Castle. See Map of Durham dated 1610.
It is interesting to note that Barnard Castle was built (early 12 century) by Guy de Balliol and a William Bertram (parentage unknown) married a daughter (Hawis) of this Guy de Balliol.
The family of Headlam has been settled in Teesdale from the year 1309, when Peter, son of Jordan Russell, Seneschall of Durham, released to his younger brother Simon all rights in Hedlam, Stainton, Newsome and Cleetlam. This Simon took the name of "de Hedlam" or Headlam, by which the family has since been known. I have found references of a John de Hedlum 1243, John de Hedelam 1356, and John Hedlam 1461.
Simonís descendants, became large landowners in Teesdale, but the direct line became extinct by the marriage in 1554 of Joane, sole daughter and heiress of William Hedlam, to Francis, eldest son of Sir George Bowes, of Streatlam. The Bowes family are ancestors of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother. For more details, view the Headlam Database.
A branch of the family appears, however, to have settled and acquired land higher up the valley of the Tees, for the Register of Middleton-in-Teesdale has a regular series of entries relating to "Headlam de Egleston," commencing in 1579.
I have found references to Headlamís from Eggleston and within a 20 mile radius, beginning with the marriage of Nicholas Headlam and Grace Kipling on 28th March 1658. I have traced the family lines of this marriage to several present day generations of Headlamís, as well as traced the Headlamís that emigrated in 1820 on the boat "Skelton", Captained by James Dixon, and arrived in Tasmania.
Also I have found a group of Headlamís of Jamaican descent. It is more then likely that they took their name from the plantation owners, for whom they worked. I have not established who the owner was as yet.
I have come across variations of spelling the family name, of which all are genuine, Edlam, Edlame, Edlem, Edlime, Headlamb, Headlambe, Headlem, Headlan, Headlen, Headlom, Headlum, Healam, Hedlam, Hedlambe, Hedlame, Hedlan, Hedlim, Hedlom, Hedlome, Hedlund, Heedlam and Hidlam.
Also of note, Headlam is the 72,106th most popular last name surname in the United States; frequency is 0.000%; percentile is 88.834.