This venerable surname recorded as Godman, Gadman, Goodman, Goudman, Gutman and others, has three possible origins; firstly, it may be a status name from the Middle English "gode" meaning good, plus "man" man, in part from use as a term for the master of a household. In Scotland the term was used of a landowner, however large his estate, who held his land not directly from the crown but from a feudal vassal of the king. Secondly, it may derive from the Middle English given name "Godeman", a development of the pre 7th Century Godmann, composed of the elements "god" meaning good or god, plus "mann" man.Finally, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin from the personal name "Guethmund", composed of the elements "gueth" meaning battle, and "mund" protection. Early examples of the surname recordings include Nicholas Godman in the "calendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds" in 1250 while Henry le Gadman is recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1275. London church registers list the marriage of Thomas Goodman to Parnell Dewey on the 28th May 1521. A coat of arms has the blaxon of per pale ermine and ermines, a green lion passant on a gold chief indented. This was granted to Thomas Godman of Letterhead in Surrey. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Asteelinus Godeman. This was dated 1115, in the "Book of Winton", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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