This is one of the most unusual surnames in the English lists. Since the early 17th century, it has been found recorded as Dewdney, Dedney, Dewdeny, Doudney, Doudny, Dowdney, and even d'Oudney, and no doubt other forms as well. It has long been considered, although unproven that the name has French origins, and this is probably correct. Our research indicates that the origin is almost certainly French, that it is locational, and was brought into England by the followers of William the Conqueror in 1066. As such it is first recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as shown below. The original name holders came either from St Martin d'Aubigny in La Manche, Normandy, or Aubigny in Calvados. Today the usual spelling is Daubeney, Daubney or Dabney. The original name holders were ennobled before the year 1295 as the Lords Daubeney and Earls of Bridgewater. Their arms have the blazon of a red field, with four silver lozenges conjoined. The crest is a tree with a knights spur. The development of the variant spelling forms may be as a result of the change of language and dialect firstly from French in the 13th century, then through medieval English, to the recognizable 'modern' English of the 17th century. Early examples of the recordings include William Daubeney of Berkshire in 1212, and Thomas Dabeney of Suffolk in 1524. Later church recordings include William Dewdney at St Helens Church, Bishopgate, on August 16th 1629, and Ralph Doudney, whose daughter Anne was christened at the same church on September 11th 1662. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nigel de Albengi, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Bedfordshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as 'The Conqueror', 1066 - 1087. 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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