This is a medieval English locational surname. It originates from the small market town of Howden, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, some twenty miles from the ciry of York. The origin of the place name, and hence the later surname, is "heafod-denu", or similar, a Danish-Viking pre 7th century compound meaning literally "the head of the valley". This area was the centre of Viking activity for many centuries, so it is logical that the modern surname should have some connection with these ancient times. The town is first recorded in the rolls known as "The Yorkshire Charters" for the year 959 a.d. in the spelling of Heaffudene, and a century later in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, as Hovedene. Early examples of the surname recording taken from the authentic registers of the Middel Ages period include Johannes de Houden, in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379, Johannes de Howden in the same year, and rather later Jane Howden, the daughter of Rowland Howden, who was christened at St James church, Clerkenwell, London, in the year 1608. The first known recording of the surname is believed to be that of Stephen de Houden, a landowner and possibly the lord of the manor of Howden, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Yorkshire, in the year 1273. This was in the first year of the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.
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