This interesting surname of English origin with variant spellings Swadon, Swaden, Swadden, etc., is a locational name from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The component elements are composed of the Old Scandinavian personal name "Swafa" plus the Old English pre 7th Century "denn" meaning "woodland pasture" or "denu" meaning "valley", hence Swafa's den. The surname dates back to the mid 16th Century, (see below). Church recordings include one Thomas Swaddon who married Ales Scotte on June 3rd 1594 at Chippenham, Wiltshire, Elizabeth, daughter of John and Margaret Swadden, was christened on July 10th 1642 at St. Mary's, Somerset, and Richard Swaden married Margaret Oldham on October 7th 1651 at St. Martin Orgar and St. Clement Eastcheap, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Swadon, which was dated 1565, at Harrow on the Hill, London, 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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