This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of three places: Snowdon in Devonshire; Snowden in the West Riding of Yorkshire; and Snow End in Hertfordshire (recorded as "Snowdon" in 1362). All three places share the same meaning and derivation, which is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "snaw", snow, and "dun", hill; hence, "the hill where snow lies long". During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Matthew de Snoudon is listed in the 1278 Assize Rolls of Somerset. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Snowden, Snowdin, Snowdon and Snawdon. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Cicilia Snowdon and Oliver Metcalf on November 2nd 1539, at Wensley, Yorkshire; the marriage of Thomas Snowdon and Elsabeth Shaxton on January 14th 1553, at St. Bartholomew the Less, London; and the marriage of Margaret Snowdon and Robert Thompson in Wensley, Yorkshire, on January 13th 1565. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield, on a blue fess between three red escallops, three gold mullets, the Crest being a peacock in pride proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Snewedon, which was dated 1277, in the "Feet of Fines of Essex", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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