This unusual surname is of Northern Anglo-Saxon 8th century origins and is found recorded in the forms of Woodvine, Woodfine, Woodwin, Woodwind, and the amazing 'Woodwing' (see below). Its origins are residential, a complication being the random use of 'v' for 'f', a dialectal transposition usually associated with the South and West Country. The name is a development of "Wudu-fern", and as such describes a person who lived or worked by or in a "fern wood". It is possible that the name could also be locational, deriving from a now "lost" village or hamlet, one of the estimated seven thousand such places which have disappeared from the maps since the 14th Century. The name "Woodfine", with variants such as "Woodfen" (1592, Lancashire), "Woodfent", (1640, ibid.), and "Woodfin" (1692, Cheshire), is found mainly in Cheshire and Lancashire. This suggests that the original place was located in one of those counties. Examples of the 'variant' spelling recordings include John Woodwin who married Thomazin Winter at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on May 12th 1596,and Richard Woodvine, who with his wife Elizabeth, witnessed the christening of their son John at the same church of St Dunstans on February 7th 1674. Other recordings include John Woodwind at St Katherin's church, Coleman Street, London, on November 28th 1762, and Maria Sophia Woodwing, the daughter of William and Suzanna Woodwing, at St Sepulchre Church, London, on December 26th 1785. The coat of arms has the blazon of a black field, charged with three fleur de lis, in silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ann Woodfeyn, which was dated 12th June 1559, marriage to Joseph Smethurst, at Frodsham, Cheshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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