This unusual surname is found almost exclusively in Devonshire and Cornwall; it is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational surname deriving from some minor, unrecorded or "lost" place believed to have been situated near Hatherleigh in Devon. The placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "ra", roe (deer), and "denu", valley, with "burh", fortified place, hence "the fort in the roe valley". The place in Somerset called Rodden, recorded as "Reddene" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Radena" in the Pipe Rolls of 1166, has the same meaning and derivation as the first two elements of the "lost" Raddenbury. The modern surname has a variety of forms, ranging from Rat(t)enberie, Rat(t)enbury, and Rat(t)enber(r)y to Rad(d)enber(r)y and Rad(d)enbury. Recordings of the name from Devonshire Church Registers include the marriages of Mary Radenbery and Thomas Stogdan on January 6th 1713, at Broad Clyst, and that of Joan Raddenbury and Thomas Small, at Stockleigh Pomeroy, on May 1st 1737. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Ratenburye, which was dated July 24th 1541, witness at the christening of his son, Michell, at Iddesleigh, Devon, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff 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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