This rare and interesting surname is of medieval origin and is locational from a so called "lost" village, probably once situated in Berkshire, which is suggested by the numerous recordings in that county and of early recordings in the neighbouring county of Oxfordshire, (see below). The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name "Anna", with either "denu", swine pasture, or "denu", a valley. The phenomenon of the "lost" village was generally a result of enforced land clearance, for various reasons, such as making way for sheep pasture, land taken by the church, as well as the more natural causes such as war, plague, etc.. Among the early recordings in London is the marriage of William Amsden and Elizabeth Richardson on October 7th 1583 at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Ameden (marriage to Hugh Holland), which was dated October 17th 1580, Banbury, Oxfordshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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