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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

My hobby is attempting to place everyone I come across called CARDEN within their place in our family history, and compiling books and booklets about each of the branches of the family. So far I have compiled about 40 such booklets and six books, which I hope are valued by those concerned and will be of interest to future generations. Wherever possible they contain a mini-biography and sometimes a photograph of each individual and are based on a mixture of research, hearsay and family tradition, usually properly distinguished from each other! They are available to all who request copies, but there is no plan to publish them on the internet. They are mostly assembled into books available from me, and from where details of these books can be found.

In September 2018 a third Carden Gathering will be held, this time in Lewes, Sussex, England on the tenth anniversary of the ones held in Cheshire in 1998 and in Brighton in 2008. For details see 

Americans should note that in 2012 I edited and produced a book CARDENS IN AMERICA, COMPILED BY CHUCK CARDEN, obtainable from I personally believe this 570-page book should be in the possession of every American interested in the Carden family. For more information see my blog mentioned under 'Links' below.

My new address from early 2015 is Arthur Carden, 41 Leggyfield Close, Redford Avenue, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 2FX, England.  Email:

This web site has been produced using an excellent facility provided by the Guild of One-Name Studies.

Variant names

CAWARDEN (thought to have been pronounced 'carden') was the normal spelling until about 1600. Sir Thomas CAWARDEN of Bletchingley (c.1514–1559) often used the name CARDEN. A very similar coat of arms was used by CARWARDINE of Hereford, but the connection has not been traced. CALLADINE, CARRADINE, CANNADINE, KENNADINE, KENDERDINE and similar names are also likely to be genuine variants with origins in Cheshire. CARDIN is used by the descendants of the Cardens of Lewes, Sussex and CARDING by the Matlock branch. CARDAN, CARDON, etc and in one case KERWIN are other known spelling variations.

Name origin

DNA and paper evidence suggest that most Cardens, including the Tipperary branches to which I belong, descend from an ancient Cheshire family located at a place named in Old English 'Carr Wordign' meaning a rocky enclosure. The Old English name suggests that there was a settlement of that name before 1066, and Ormerod, the Cheshire historian, tells us 'at some point before the reign of Henry II' (before 1216) 'a family assumed the local name Carden'. Other Cardens appear to have origins either in Essex (perhaps descendants of a Cardon - based on the French word for thistle - in the Domesday Book), or in County Sligo in western Ireland where they existed before the Tipperary Cardens arrived from Cheshire.

The CARDIN name is common in France and has a Breton origin. DNA information suggests there is no connection with Cardens or Cardins from England.

Historical occurrences of the name

The church at Mavesyn Ridware in Staffordshire contains many elaborate Cawarden tombs and hatchments. Carden Hall near Malpas in Cheshire, which burned in 1912, was built by the LECHE family which intermarried with CARDEN, on the site of the early Carden lands. A great deal of information is to be found in Ormerod's 'Cheshire' and Shaw's 'Staffordshire'.

The following appear in the Oxford DNB

Carden, George Frederick (1798–1874), barrister and cemetery founder.
Carden, Sir John Valentine, sixth baronet (1892–1935), engineer.
Carden, Sir Lionel Edward Gresley (1851–1915), diplomatist
Carden, Sir Robert Walter, first baronet (1801–1888), banker and politician.
Carden, Sir Sackville Hamilton (1857–1930), naval officer.
Cawarden, Sir Thomas (c.1514–1559), courtier (also known as Carden, Sir Thomas).

John Rutter Carden (1811-1866) was notorious for his attempted abduction of Eleanor Arbuthnot in Tipperary.

Admiral John Surman Carden (1771-1858) is best known for the fact that when in command of *HMS Macedonian* he surrendered to the American frigate *USS United States* in 1812.

Many officers named Carden fought in the American Revolutionary War, notably at Hanging Rock and Quebec.

Sir Herbert Carden (1867-1941) was known as 'the father of modern Brighton'

Name frequency

According to there are about 8,500 people with the CARDEN name in USA, of whom about 450 are listed as black.
The Office of National Statistics database in September 2002 showed the following numbers of individuals in Great Britain - 1627 named CARDEN (ranks 4417th out of 270,000 surnames), 210 named CARDING, 111 named CARDIN and 72 named CARDON.

Distribution of the name

Probably a high proportion of Cardens in the USA are descendants of Catholic famine emigrants from Mayo and Sligo. Many Protestant Cardens in USA have been shown by DNA evidence to be descended from Cheshire origins, but few have traced the exact connection.

Most Cardens in Australia, New Zealand and some in Canada have proven connections to English or Tipperary branches.


There are over 75 participants in the CARDEN DNA PROJECT, with Carden or variant surnames. See the link below. Because the report to which the link refers is very out of date, those interested may like to visit for a talk I gave on the Carden DNA project on 13th September 2008 to the Carden Gathering.