This interesting and unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is an ethnic surname given in the first instance to someone from Denmark. The name derives from the Middle English term 'dench, densch', Danish, a development of the Old English pre 7th Century word 'denisc'. It is thought that the Danes were probably originally named from an Old Germanic word similar to the Old English 'denu', valley, referring to the low-lying territory where they lived. The comparatively early recordings of the name in England reflect the fact that there were many Danes in medieval England, both recent immigrants and descendants of the first Danes to settle in what became 'the Danelaw' region, a large area of northern, central and eastern Anglo-Saxon Engand.One William Dench was an early emigrant to the New World, leaving London on The 'Alexander' in May 1635, bound for the Barbados colonies. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Dench, which was dated 1327, The Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 111, 'The Father of the Navy', 1327-1377. 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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