This unusual name is of Anglo - Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the places called 'Widdecombe', 'Widdicombe' or 'Withycombe' in Devonshire. The first of these places is recorded as 'Widecumba' in 1135, the second as 'Wythecumb' in 1249, and the third as 'Widecome' in the Domesday Book of 1086. There is also a 'Withycombe' in Somerset, recorded in 1065 as 'Hwidigcum'. All the placenames share the same meaning and derivation which is 'the willow valley', derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century word 'withig', willow, and 'cumb', valley. Locational names were given especially to those former inhabitants who moved to another area. Jane Widdecombe married William Valentine on the 7th March 1791 at St. Anne's, Soho, in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Widecumbe, which was dated 1196, The Somerset Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard I, The Lionheart, 1189 - 1199. 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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