This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called 'Wolfenden' in the parish of Newchurch-in-Rossendale, Lancashire. The placename means 'Wolfhelm's valley', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name 'Wulfhelm', composed of the elements 'wulf', wolf, and 'helm', helmet, protection, with 'denu', valley. Locational surname were used especially by those former inhabitants of a place who moved to another area. The modern surname be found in a variety of forms, ranging from Wolfenden, Woolfenden, Woffenden and Woffinden to Woofenden and Wooffinden. The marriage of Thomas Woofenden and Jane Butterworth was recorded in Rochdale, Lancashire, in 1660. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Wolfenden (christening), which was dated June 1st 1553, Whalley, Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward VI, 'The Boy King', 1547 - 1553. 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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