This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname from a 'lost' place called 'Wickenden', in Cowden, Kent. The village of 'Polefields' stands on approximately the same ground today. 'Wickenden' was first recorded in a charter of 1044 as 'Wingindene', and in a later one of 1081 as 'Wigendene', last mentioned as 'Wykenden' in a list of church marks of 1542. The following list, in 1663, records the place as 'Polefields', a village long occupied by the Wickenden family. There is a record of the burial of one 'ould mother wickenden of powlfields' in 1626. The placename derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'wicen', dairy farm, and 'denu', valley. The surname is found in Kent and in Sussex: Briget Wickenden was married to John Jessopp on the 11th November 1567 in Cowden, Kent, and Anne Wickenden was christened on the 18th November 1571 at East Grinstead, Sussex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Martin de Wiggindenn, which was dated circa 1200, The Kent Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King John, 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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