Show ContentsDarden History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Darden is an old Anglo-Saxon name. It comes from when a family lived in Ardern in the county of Warwick. The interpretation of the name, however, varies depending on the county of origin. In Cheshire, Kent and Hampshire, the name assumes the local meaning of dwelling-house, and in Yorkshire, it has the curious meaning of eagle valley or gravel valley.

Early Origins of the Darden family

The surname Darden was first found in the county of Warwickshire, from very ancient times, when Hugh de Arden recovered some of his family's lost estates after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Henry de Arden, his successor, about 1130 A.D. held five knights' fees from the Norman Earl of Warwick. This line can be traced to the present family seat at Longcroft Hall in Staffordshire.

"No family can claim a more noble origin that the house of Ardern, descended in the male line from the Saxon Earls of Warwick before the Conquest. The name of Arden was assumed from the Woodlands of Arden, in the North of Warwickshire, by Siward de Arden, in the reign of Henry I." [1]

"The priory of Shulbrede, about half a mile from the church, in a sequestered spot, was founded by Ralph de Arderne, about the beginning of the reign of Henry III., for five canons of the order of St. Augustine." [2]

John Arderne (1307-1392) was arguably England's first surgeon and one of the first of his time to devise workable cures. He hailed from Newark-on-Trent, Nottingham but moved to London where he is thought to have been admitted as a member of the Guild of Surgeons.

Early History of the Darden family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Darden research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1843, 1307, 1392, 1452, 1542, 1583, 1545, 1563, 1537, 1608, 1523, 1570, 1558, 1636 and 1691 are included under the topic Early Darden History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Darden Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Darden were recorded, including Ardern, Arden, Arderne, Adron, Harden, Ardin and many more.

Early Notables of the Darden family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Arderne (1307-1392), an English surgeon and one of the first of his time to devise workable cures. Some describe him as England's first surgeon. Robert Arden was executed in 1452 for supporting the uprising of Richard, Duke of York. Edward Arden (1542?-1583), was an English nobleman and head of the Arden family, became a Catholic martyr upon his execution. He "was a probably innocent victim of the rigorous severity adopted by the ministers of Queen Elizabeth in order to defeat the numerous Roman Catholic conspiracies in favour of Mary Queen of Scots...
Another 107 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Darden Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Darden Ranking

In the United States, the name Darden is the 1,751st most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [3]

United States Darden migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Darden family emigrate to North America:

Darden Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Darden, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [4]
  • Stephen Darden, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [4]
Darden Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Anna Darden, who landed in Mississippi in 1850 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Darden (post 1700) +

  • Christopher Allen Darden (b. 1956), American lawyer, writer, lecturer and practicing attorney
  • Mills Darden (1799-1857), American who is alleged to have been one of the largest men in history
  • William "Bill" Darden, American founder of Darden Restaurants, Inc., an American multi-brand restaurant operator in 1968 when he was 19 years old
  • Christine Darden (b. 1942), American aeronautical engineer who researches sonic booms at NASA
  • Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr. (1897-1981), American politician and academic, 3rd President of the University of Virginia (1947-1959), 54th Governor of Virginia (1942-1946)
  • Severn Teakle Darden Jr. (1929-1995), American comedian and actor
  • George Washington "Buddy" Darden (b. 1943), American politician and lawyer, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia (1983-1995)
  • Thomas Francis Darden Jr. (1900-1961), U.S. Navy officer and politician, 37th Governor of American Samoa (1949-1951)
  • Stephen Heard Darden (1816-1902), prominent Texas politician
  • Jimmy Darden (1922-1994), American professional basketball player and coach
  • ... (Another 18 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Suggested Readings for the name Darden +

  • Old Letters, Old Biographies and Old Family Trees of Bourne, Carr, Darden, and Allied Families of Virginia, Tennessee and Other States. Allied Families Gardner, Wilkerson, Polk, and Many Others by Gertrude Morton Price Katz.
  • Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine: Recipes and Reminiscences of a Family by Norma Jean Darden.

  1. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8) on Facebook