This interesting and unusual surname, recorded in Church Registers of south east England from the late 16th Century under the variant spellings Dudney, Dudny, Dudenie, and Doodney, is of locational origin from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place originally believed to have been in that area. The prime cause of the "lost" village phenomenon was the forced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 15th Century, along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348.The component elements of this placename are the Olde English pre 7th Century personal byname "Dudda", from a Germanic root meaning "rotund", plus the Olde English "eq", island or piece of land surrounded by streams. On November 30th 1578, Susana Dudney, an infant, was christened in Horley, Surrey. Ales Duddenie married a Thomas Mason in St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, London, on September 25th 1600, and on November 13th 1620, Richarde Dudeney and Ellinour Hover were married in Shermanbury, Sussex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Kathern Dudney, which was dated July 5th 1573, marriage to Richard Twicrought, at St. Nicholas', Brighton, Sussex, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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