This interesting and unusual surname derives from the Medieval English phrase "God spede" meaning "may god prosper (you)", a wish for success said to one setting out on a journey or enterprise. The surname first appears on record in England in the latter part of the 13th Century, (see below), and was probably originally given as a nickname to someone who habitually used the expression. One, Walter Godspede was noted in the 1275 "Hundred Rolls of Worcestershire", and a Robert Godspeede in the "Close Rolls of London", dated 1408.The surname with variant spellings Godspede and Godspeede, is particularly well recorded in English church registers from the late 16th Century. On November 19th 1570 Lettice Godspede and Hugh Deane were married in Hurley, Berkshire, and on September 22nd 1613 the marriage of Edward Goodspeed and Katherine Tempell took place in Saint Dunstan's, Stepney, London. Dorathie Goodspeede married Robert Booth in All Hallows, London Wall on September 21st 1622. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Godisped, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "the Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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