This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a place called Foden (Bank) in the township of Sutton, Prestbury parish, Cheshire. The placename derives from the Olde English pre 7th century "fode", to feed or graze, with "denu", a valley; hence "valley used for grazing". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is particularly well recorded in Church Registers of Cheshire and Lancashire, along with its variant spellings Foden and Fowden. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of James, son of William and Anne Fodden, on October 24th 1641 at St. Mary Somerset, London; the marriage of Eliabeth Fodden and John Walton on January 14th 1673 at Alderley, Cheshire; and the marriage of Mary Fodden and William Gernet on December 11th 1703, at Manchester Cathedral, Lancashire. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family is a silver shield, on a blue fesse between three black crossbows strung three gold arrows, the Crest being a blue pike's head out of a ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ellen Fowden, which was dated October 14th 1561, marriage to John Howleye, in Prestbury, Cheshire, 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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