This very unusual surname is of Norse-Viking pre 8th Century origin, and is either a locational or topographical name which translates as either "the farm by the church or temple", or "the dweller at the farm by the church or temple", derived from the Norse "denn", farm, and "hof", church or temple. The name may also refer to a now "lost" village, probably in Kent; it is also possible that the "modern" name spelling is a dialectal variant of (for instance) the village of Uffington in Berkshire, first recorded circa 931 A.D.as "Offentona", although the early recordings suggest that this is not the case. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace; while topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname development since 1546 (see below) includes the following: the marriage of Abraham Haffenden and Elizabeth Bocker at St. Dunstan's, Cranbrook, in 1560; the christening of Henry Hoffenden at Meopham, in November 1662; and Ingram Offenden, who was recorded at Harbledon, in 1736. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alice Haffinden, which was dated December 13th 1546, christened at Tenterden, Kent, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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