This venerable surname 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 Olde English 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 Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Guethmund", composed of the elements "gueth" meaning battle, plus "mund" protection. The surname dates back to the early 12th Century (see below). One Nicholas Godman is mentioned in 1188 in the "Kalendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds" (Suffolk), while Henry le Godman is recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1275. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Goodman, Goddman, Goudman, and Gutman. London Church Records list the marriage of Thomas Goodman to Parnell Dewey on the 28th May 1521. A Coat of Arms divided per pale ermine and ermines with a green lion passant on a gold chief indented, 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, which 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 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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