Recorded in several spelling forms of which the usual are Dudleston, Didleston, Dudliston, and Dudleystone, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the small village of Dudleston near the town of Elesmere Port in the county of Shropshire. Dudleston is first recorded in the year 1267 as "Dodelston", the translation being "the village (tun) and farm (leah)of the Dudda's". The latter is a tribal name which is also perpetuated in placenames such as Dudbridge in Gloucestershire and Doddeston, in Warwickshire.The original meaning of "Dudda" is like most pre 7th century names, unclear, but it was probably a nickname for the original chief of the tribe who was either rounded or possibly bald. The surname is many centuries later than the first name, and like most locational surnames originated as a result of land enclosure. When this happened many tenants lost their common grazing rights, and were forced to seek homes and work elsewhere. In so doing they took (or were given), as their surnames the name of their former village. Early examples of the surname recording taken from the surviving church registers of Shropshire include Andrew Dudleston of Press, a witness there on April 1st 1640, Mary Dudleston of Atcham, born there on April 22nd 1781, and Mary Dudliston, married at St Chad's church, Shrewsbury, on March 16th 1800. The first recording of the surname is believed to have been that of Thomas Duddleston of Wem, recorded there on October 6th 1594, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, 1558 - 1603.
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