This name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name Godwine - a compound of the elements "god" meaning "good", plus "wine", friend or protector. As a personal name it appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 - "Ailmar filius (son of) Goduini". The surname adopted from this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below). Other spellings of the name have included Godwyn (Cambridgeshire 1239) and Goudwyne (Sussex 1327). Harold, second son of Godwin (1022 - 1066) was Earl of East Anglia (1045). He succeeded his father as Earl of Wessex in 1053 and received Earldom of Hereford (1058). He was chosen by the noble as King of the English in January 1066, but was slain by the Normans in October 14th 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, after a reign of nine months. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Godwin, which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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