This name, with variant spellings Darwen and Darwent has two origins. The first of which is the Old English pre 7th Century personal name Deorwine, a compound of the elements "deor" meaning "dear" plus "wine", friend hence, "Dearfriend". The above name was attested in the 10th Century and appears as "Derwen" (without surname) in the 1170 "Pipe Rolls of Essex" and as Derewinus in the 1176 "Feet of Fines" for Buckinghamshire. The surname from this source was first recorded in the early 13th Century, (see below). The second origin is locational from the town of Darwen, so called from the river Darwent in Lancashire on which it stands. This is a British name, derived from "derva" "oak", hence, river where oaks were common: ("British" meaning the extinct Celtic language of the Britons). This place appears on record as "Derewent" in the Feet of Fines" 1208. On January 25th 1036, Elizabeth Darwin was christened in Saint Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Derewin, which was dated 1219, in the "Feet of Fines" for Essex, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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