This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Bouldon, a hamlet north east of Ludlow in Shropshire. The early forms of the placename differ greatly from the present spelling: it appears as "Balledone" in the Domesday Book of 1086; as "Bullardone" in the 1166 "Red Book of the Exchequer"; and as "Bollardedon" in the Book of Fees for Shropshire, dated 1242, and is originally believed to have been called "bullan dun", the first element being either the Olde English pre 7th Century "bula", bullock, or the personal byname "Bulla", with "dun", down, hill, mountain. Alternatively, the second element may be the Olde English "denu", a dene, valley, especially represented by spellings such as "duene" and "done" in placenames of Wiltshire and Hampshire. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Bowldown, a locality in the Tetbury rural district of Gloucestershire may also have contributed to the surname. On April 8th 1605, Catherine Boulden and Henry Godfree were married at Bourton on the Hill, Gloucestershire, and on May 19th 1642, Rebecca, daughter of Lewes Boulden, was christened at St. Olave, Southwark, London. The christening of Mary, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Boulden, took place at Alvechurch, Worcestershire, in 1697. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Bowlden, which was dated January 25th 1589, marriage to Elizabeth Bell, at Bourton on the Hill, Gloucestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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