Recorded in the spellings of Polden, Polding, Pollding, Pouldin and Poulden, this is an English locational surname. It derives from the area known as Polden Hill, near Glastonbury, in Somerset, although apparently most early recordings are in the London registers. This is because locational surnames were given to nameholders after they left their original homes, and travelled elsewhere, usually in search of work. The 'mecca' was London, a city at least ten times larger than any other place in Britain, and probably the only one known to people from the distant countrysides. 'Polden', without the hill is first recorded in the year 705 a.d. as 'Pouelt which may translate according to the English Place Names Dictionary as 'the pool by the wood'. This seems an unlikely explanation for a distinctive hill which runs for several miles, particulary as the area, until drained in the 17th century, was a fenland full of pools, and possibly woods as well. Our opinion is that in this original recording may have referred to a now 'lost' village which was perhaps in the fen, particularly as the rolls of the abbey of Glastonbury in 1235 refer to 'Poweldune', which we translate as 'the head (pol) hill (dun)'. Name recordings taken from various registers include such examples as Robert Pouldin, who married Grace Preford at All Hallows church, London Wall, London, on May 24th 1653, and Mary Poldin, the daughter of the previous Robert, but now recorded as Poldin, who was christened at St Ann's Blackfriars, on July 8th 1654, and Samuel Polding who was christened at St Olaves Southwark, on January 5th 1720.
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