The surname of GOODWIN was a locational name from Goodwin Sands in County Kent. There is a tradition that the Goodwins were an island belonging to Godwin, the Earl of Wessex, that was washed away by the sea in 1097. He was an Anglo-Saxon nobleman and warrior, the father of King Harold Godwinsson. He became a favourite of King Knut (Canute) who made him an Earl in 1018, and in 1019 he became Earl of the West Saxons. In 1042, he helped to raise Edward the Confessor to the throne, and married the King to his daughter Edith. He led the struggle against the King's foreign favourites, and Edward revenged himself by heaping insults upon Queen Edith, confining her in the Monastery of Wherwell, and banishing Godwin and his sons in 1051. But, in 1052 they landed in the south of England; the royal troups, the navy and vast numbers of peasants went over to the Godwin's side, and the king was forced to grant his demands and reinstate his family. Godwin died at Winchester and his son Harold was King for a few months. Early records of the name include mention Ailmar filius Godwini, a tenant listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Willemus Godewyn of Yorkshire, was mentioned in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379 Walter Goodwin was documented in the year 1400 in the County of Yorkshire. William Godewyn of Yorkshire, registered at Oxford University in the year 1567. John, son of John Goodwyn was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1572. The name is also spelt Godwin and Goodwyn. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
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