Recorded as Woods, Woodson, Woodison, Woodeson and Wooderson, this is a venerable English surname. It is a patronymic of early medieval origin. In most cases it was a topographical surname for the son of a person who lived in a wood, or as an occupational surname it described the son of a woodcutter or forester. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century word "wudu". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.Hereditary occupational surnames took longer to become established, and usually did so when a son followed his father into the same job or profession. In this case the surname was first recorded in the mid 13th century and early recordings include: John del Wode of Yorkshire in 1274; John Atewode of Essex in the same year; Elias in le Wode of Cambridgeshire in 1279, and William Bythewode of Sussex in 1296. Other examples of early recordings include Alex Woodson of Cheshire in the register of Oxford University in 1565, George Wooddeson, who married Mary Balston at Canterbury, in 1674, and John Wooderson, who married Ann Oliver at St George's Chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster, in the year 1803. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of Walter de la Wode. This was dated 1242, in the Book of Fees for the county of Herefordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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