The surname of DUDLEY was a locational name 'of Dudley' an important town in County Worcestershire. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. Early records of the name mention Perceval de Duddelegh, documented during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Johannes Dudly, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of the year 1379. Buried. John Dudleye, at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1549. William Dudley and Mary Foster were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1789. Notable members of the name include Edmund Dudley (1462-1510) the English lawyer and privy councillor. He was a partner in the carrying out of the detested policy of Henry VII (of exacting taxes and penalties due to the crown) whose son and successor sent him to the block. He was the father of the Duke of Northumberland. Lord Guildford Dudley, who died in 1554, was the fourth son of the Lord Protector, John Dudley, Earl of Warwick (Northumberland). His father married him to the unwilling Jane Grey on 21st May 1553 as Edward VI lay dying, and then proclaimed her Queen on 9th July. After the accession of Mary I (Edward's sister) Dudley and his wife were imprisoned and beheaded on Tower Hill on 12th February. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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