Recorded as Seddon and sometimes as Sedan, Sedden, Seden, and Seyden, this is an English surname originally associated with the county of Lancashire. It was locational and originated from a now "lost" place thought to have been situated in the Manchester area of Lancashire. There are no recordings extant of the early forms of the placename, but it is believed to mean "the broad, wide hill", from the Olde English pre 7th century "side", used in the sense of a hill-slope, with "dun", a hill. An estimated three thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared in Britain since the 12th Century, due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and the enforced clearing and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pasture from the 15th Century on. Recordings of the surname from Lancashire Church Registers include the marriage of Richard Seddon and Alice Scholefeild on January 13th 1542, at Middleton by Oldham. Richard Seddon (1845 - 1906), Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born in St. Helen's, Lancashire, and served an engineering apprenticeship before going to the Australian goldfields in 1863, and then on to New Zealand. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Sedan. This is dated January 16th 1521, when he married Elizabeth Greenehalghe, at Manchester, during the reign of King Henry V111, 1509 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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