Show ContentsWoodan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Woodan family

The surname Woodan was first found in Essex, where there are no fewer that three townships and parishes so named: Woodham-Ferris in the union and hundred of Chelmsford; Woodham-Mortimer, a parish, in the union of Maldon, hundred of Dengie; and Woodham-Walter a parish, in the union of Maldon, hundred of Dengie. [1]

Literally the place names mean "dweller at the enclosure by the Wood [Old English wudu + ham(m)] where the Middle English form was usually Wodeham. " [2] The name is often pluralized to Woodhams. [3]

Ironically, there was only one listing of the family in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, Thomas de Wodeham, as the rest were found as follows: Peter de Wodeham, Northamptonshire; Egipgidias de Wodeham, London; and Reginald de Wodeham, Gloucestershire. [4]

Adam Goddam or Woodham (d. 1358) was a Franciscan, "born towards the end of the thirteenth century, and attended Ockham's lectures on the 'Sentences' of Peter Lombard at Oxford, where he was presumably a member of the Franciscan convent. His studies under Ockham must have ended in the first years of the fourteenth century, when his master went to Paris." [5]

One source claims that the family or a branch of the family was originally found in Dorset where they held a family seat from very ancient times, at Catherston-Lewston, a parish, in the union of Bridport, hundred of Whitchurch Canonicorum. "This place was the residence of a branch of the Wadhams, by one of whom, Nicholas Wadham, and Dorothy his wife, Wadham College, Oxford, was founded. " [1]

The Woodend variant is interesting, in that Bardsley notes "this surname still exists in Furness, North Lancashire. My instances prove it to have been there for 300 years at least. No doubt it has existed there for six centuries." [4] Despite this, he goes on to note the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 records Adam de Wodeshende, Dorset, hundreds of miles away. Later the Lancashire Wills at Richmond includes: Nicholas Woodend, of Ulverston, 1624 and James Woodend, of Lowick, 1662.

Early History of the Woodan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woodan research. Another 80 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1613, 1625, 1789, 1743, 1803, 1769 and 1773 are included under the topic Early Woodan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woodan Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Woodham, Wodam, Wodham and others.

Early Notables of the Woodan family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Mrs Woodham, (1743-1803), née Spenser. She was an English singer and actress and "known on account of the elegance of her dress and person as 'Buck' Spencer. She played at Covent Garden Euphrosyne in 'Comus,' and was regarded as a rival to Miss Brent, subsequently Mrs. Pinto. She sang at Marylebone Gardens under Dr. Arnold, from whom she...
Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woodan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Woodan family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: George Woodham arrived in New England in 1773; Richard Woodham arrived in New England in 1718; William Woodham arrived in New York in 1820.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook