This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called "Rowden" in Herefordshire, near the town of Hereford. The place is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Ruedene", and in the Fees Book of Herefordshire of 1249 as "Rugedun". The name means "the rough hill", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ruh", rough, overgrown, uncultivated ground, with "dun", down, low hill, which is a word of Celtic origin and was adopted into Olde English from the British (pre-Roman) language. Locational surnames were acquired particularly by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The marriage of John Rowden and Elizabeth Baker was recorded at St. James's, Duke's Place, London, on June 2nd 1685. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jana Rowdon, which was dated June 11th 1539, christened at Bromyard, Herefordshire, 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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