This interesting and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is one of the patronymic forms of the surname which derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Dogod", with the patronymic suffix "-ing". The given name is a derivative of the Olde English verb "dugan", to be of use, avail, and was developed from an earlier byname or nickname, such as "the useful or helpful one". The surname from this source, found as Dowding or Dowden, is found chiefly in the south western counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire, and the place called Dowdeswell, near Cheltenham in the latter county, is named with the same Olde English personal name. The placename is recorded in the Saxon Chartulary of 781 as "Dogodeswellan", and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Dodesuuelle", and means "Dogod's stream". Examples of the surname from various Church Registers include: the marriage of William Dowdyng and An Dennam at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, on January 30th 1542; the marriage of Mary Dowding and John Coome at Cannington, Somerset, on April 7th 1568; and the christening of Annsell Doudinge on November 26th 1592, at Matson in Gloucestershire. An early Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name depicts a gold fleur-de-lis on a blue shield; the Crest is a blue catharine wheel. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Doding, which was dated 1268, a witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Somerset", 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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