Recorded as Swinden, Swindin, and Swindon, this is an English locational surname. It can originate from any of the places called Swinden or Swindon of which there are at least four. However it would seem that Swinden in North Yorkshire, now a 'lost' or at least a very diminished medieval hamlet near Gisburn, is the former home for most nameholders. In all cases the place name means 'swine valley' and refers not to a place of pig farms, but to medieval hunting grounds, where wild boar were to be found. 'Lost' or diminished medieval villages are a silent feature of the British landscape. It has been estimated that as a many as five thousand such places have almost or entirely disappeared in the past five centuries. This followed major changes in agricultural practices, and dramatic events such as the Great Plagues of the 14th to 17th centuries, coastal erosion which is ongoing, and even war. When this happened the inhabitants left, and took, or were given, as their surname, the name of their former home. In this case the earliest known recording is that of Johannes de Swyndeyn of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax register of that county in 1379.
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