Last name: Powderham

Recorded in an very wide range of spellings which are all dialectals and include Patron, Poteron, Potam, Pottam, Petheron, Pudan, Puddan, Puden, Pudden, Puddin, Pudding, Puttan, Putten, Powton, and Putton, this is an English surname. It orignates from the place name of Powderham, pronounced locally as Poteron, a diminished, if not entirely 'lost,' medieval village in Devon, or in a few instances from Puttenham in Surrey, or even Poulders, a village in Kent. Some three thousand surnames of the British Isles are known to originate from such sources, of which the only public reminder even of its existence, is the surviving surname, usually as with this one, in a wide variety of spellings. Locational surnames were given either to the lord of the manor or his descendants, or to former inhabitants who for whatever reason, left their village and moved elsewhere. The easiest way to identify such strangers was to call him, or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best indifferent, and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. In this case early examples of the recordings taken from surviving church registers in the diocese of Greater London include: Jhon Pouton who married Margery Gunton at St Mary Aldermary on November 20th 1541, Sarah Putton christened at St Brides Fleet Street, on January 17th 1657, and William Puden, a witness at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on December 4th 1697. A later example of what might be described as the 'correct' spelling, is that of Elizabeth Powderham, who married Robert White at St George's chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster, on August 10th 1803.

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