This is one of the most unusual of English surnames. Recorded in the almost unbelievably different spellings of Huddart and Woodard, it is a good example of how surnames from the same source can take completely different developments over a millenium. The origination of both names, and probably five hundred years before the formation of the surname, was the pre 7th century Olde English given name of 'Wudheard'. This name appears in surviving early rolls as for example: Wudardus of Bury St Edmunds in 1148, and Wudardi of Wiltshire in 1168. The first recordings of the surname, and in its different spellings are coincidentally in the same year, although a hundred miles apart. These are Walter Wudard of Warwick, in the Assize Rolls for that city in 1221, and William Hubard, in the Pipe Rolls of Colchester, Essex. In the medieval period of the 13th century when surnames came into more general use, local dialects were so thick that they constituted separate languages. When this 'problem' was combined with the fact that only a tiny percentage of the population could even write their names, the opportunity for errors in surname spelling was multiplied. Later examples of the surname spelling include Joseph Huddart (1741 - 1816), designer, manufacturer and hydrographer to the East India Company, and Nathaniel Woodard (1811 - 1891), who formed the famous Woodard Schools which still survive today, in the last years of the 20th century.
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