Recorded as Vousdan, Vousden, Vousdon, Vowden and Vowdon, this is a locational surname. It would seem to originate either from Foden (Bank) in the parish of Prestbury, Cheshire or from some now "lost" medieval village, of which the surname is apparently the only reminder. Foden derives from the pre 7th century word 'fode', meaning to feed or graze, plus 'denu', - a valley, hence the valley used for grazing. The surname is particularly well recorded in both the county of Cheshire, also in the diocese of Greater London, and in the county of Devonshire with the prefix "V" to give the above spellings. Locational surnames are by their nature 'from' names, given to people as easy identification after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. Place and name spelling was often changed involuntary and especially so with the prefix letters "f" and "v." For example fens are found in East Anglia, but in the West Country they are Ven(n)s. Recordings taken from early surviving church registers of the various areas include Margarett Foden and Roger Spurstowe who were married at St. Mary's Woolnoth, in the city of London on October 25th 1565, Hugh Fowden who married Margearye Stubbs at Prestbury Church, Cheshire on May 15th 1568, whilst Jane Vowdon was christened at Hatherleigh, Devon, on February 9th 1637, and John Vousden was a christening witness at All Hallows the Great, London wall, on September 17th 1699. This may be the first recording in that particlar spelling. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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