Recorded as Balden, Belden, Baldin, Balding, Baldam, Baldham, and possibly others, this an English locational surname. It probably originates from a place called Baldham ('Balds settlement'), as the prefix 'Bald' is common in many place names such as Balderton or Baldock. The problem is that that no place in any of the known surname spellings, is apparently recorded in the gazetters of the British Isles for the past three centuries. This suggests that either the original place was too small to be recorded which is certainly possible, or the maps were inaccurate, which is also possible, or more likely that it was one of the estimated five thousand villages and even small towns, which have totally disappeared since the Middle Ages. As to why so many are 'lost' has been the subject of several books, but changes in agricultural practices, what is known as 'enclosure,' urbanisation, and natural disasters such as the great plagues of the 14th to the 17th centuries, as well as coastal erosion and war, have all played their part. Early examples of recordings taken from surviving church registers of Greater London include Susan Balden, at St James Clerkenwell, on November 12th 1603, and Edmund Baldam at St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on December 31st 1732.
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