This name is of English locational origin from any of the various places so called, for example Sheldon in Derbyshire, Devon and Warwickshire. The former, recorded as Scelhadun in the Domesday Book of 1086, derives its name from the Olde English elements "Schele", a hut or shed, plus "heth-dun", a heather covered hill. Sheldon in Devon is named from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Scylf", a shelf or slope", plus "denu", a valley, hence "the steep-sided valley". The name is found with the spelling Sildened in the Domesday Book and as Sheldon (Warwickshire) recorded as Scheldon in the 1190, Pipe Rolls of that County is so called from the Olde English "Scuf", plus "dun", a hill, hence "the hill with a "Sculf" or Flat top". The surname is first recorded in the late 16th Century, (see below). Gilbert Sheldon (1598 - 1677) was Archbishop of Canterbury, 1663 -1667. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Francis Sheldon, which was dated 1584, in the Oxford University Register, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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