This ancient surname of OCKENDON was a locational name meaning 'one who came from OCKENDON' in County Essex. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form WOCHEN, literally meaning the dweller at the settlement of WOCCA. The earliest of the name on record appears to be WOKENDUNE (without surname) who was recorded in County Essex in the year 1067, and WOCHADUNA (without surname) was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name. Throughout all of Europe the wolf was one of the animals most revered in medieval times. Lycanthropy, the transformation of men into wolves, was widely believed in during the middle ages, and was often used in coat armour.
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