This most interesting and unusual surname, found particularly in Norfolk, is of Old French origin, and is an Anglicized form of a French name, derived from the 13th Century French words "flor", flower and "dieu", god, which originated as an oath-name. Other examples of oath-names include "Debney" (God bless you), "Dugard" (God protect you) and "Pardew" (By God!). Some of these may also have been nicknames, as in this instance, the term may have been given to someone who was greatly concerned with their smartness of dress.The surname is first recorded in the early 16th Century in England (see below), and William, son of John and Kate Flowerdew, was christened in 1532 at Hethersett, in Norfolk, and John Floure-dieu is recorded in 1541 in Blomefield and Parkin's "History of Norfolk". Judeth Flowerdew was christened on December 24th 1570 at St. Mary at Hill, London, while Mary Flowerdew married Roger Wager on April 27th 1600 at St. Margaret Pattens, London. Edward Flowerden (deceased 1586), a judge, was counsel to the dean of Norwich and town of Yarmouth. A Coat of Arms depicting, per black and silver chevron engraved, three sea bears passant counterchanged, was granted to Thomas Flowerdew of Norfolk, who died on June 8th 1619. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John and Kate Flowerdew, which was dated 1530, christening witnesses at Hethersett, Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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