This interesting and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from a topographical name for someone who lived in a valley, from the Olde English pre 7th Century words "denu", valley, and "mann", man (dweller); hence, "dweller in the valley". The name first appears in written records in the early 13th Century (see below); an English family of the name can trace their ancestry back to this source. Early recordings include: Adam Deneman, mentioned in the 1332 Subsidy Rolls of Surrey, and the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire mention Richard le Denne, Thomas de Denne and Adam Denman in 1379.Thomas Denman, the elder (1733 - 1815), studied medicine at St. George's Hospital in 1753, he became a surgeon in the Navy from 1757 to 1763, and afterwards took the post of physician accoucheur to Middlesex Hospital from 1769 - 1783. He had a son, Thomas (1779 - 1854), who became first Baron Denman, having been educated at Cambridge, after which he entered the bar in 1806. He became Attorney-General in 1830 and Speaker of the House of Lords in 1835, carrying two bills calling for abolition of death-penalty for forgery and other offenses in 1837 and spoke in favour of abolition of slave trade. He had two sons, Thomas (1805 - 1894), and George (1819 - 1896), a judge and privy councillor. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Deneman, which was dated 1314, in the "Feet of Fines of Essex", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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