This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either of the places called 'Wilden' in Bedfordshire and in Worcestershire. The place in Bedfordshire is recorded as 'Wildene' in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as 'Willedene' in the 1167 Pipe Rolls of the county, and means 'the willow valley', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century 'wilig, welig', willow, with 'denn', valley. The place in Worcestershire is recorded as 'Winelduna' in 1182, and as 'Wiveldon' in the 1299 Close Rolls, and means 'Winela's hill', from the Old English personal name 'Winela', with 'dun', hill, down, mountain. The modern surname can be found as Wilden and Willden. Locational names were given especially to those former inhabitants who left the area and were best identified with the name of their birthplace. One Thomas Willden was a witness at a marriage in St. Dunstan's, Stepney, on December 9th 1598. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elyn Wylden (marriage to James Hayber), which was dated June 26th 1552, St. Dionis, Backchurch, London, during the reign of King Edward V1, '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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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