This surname PROUDFOOT is a familiar surname to the County of Buckinghamshire, where it has been found for many centuries, and is still there today. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he held his land. This name identified his whole family and followed him wherever he moved. This name was originally derived from the Old English PUDIFAET and early records of the name mention Roger Pudifat who was documented in Canterbury, Kent in the year 1188. Richard Pudified was recorded in Oxford in the year 1223, and Walter Podefat, appears in 1273 in County Buckinghamshire. Thomas Puddephat of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but they were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1377) that it became common practice for all people. Later instances of the name include John Puddephatt and Mary Bedford were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1755. John Breech and Mary Puddephatt were married in the same church in 1785. The name has many variant spellings which include PUDDEFOOT, PUDIFAT, PUDDEPHAT and PUDDIFOOT. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
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