The surname BURDEN has a number of possible origins. It was a locational name 'of Burdon' the name of two townships in County Durham or from the nickname given to a pilgrim or one who carried a pilgrim's staff - a 'Bourdon'. 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. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. 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 John de Burdon, County Nottingham, 1273. Robertus Burden of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edward Burden married Susannah Randell at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1797. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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