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Our 2,745 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

The study was started 1971 and the database now contains over 13,000 records relating to Hiddens extracted from many different sources, some of which go back to the 15th century. Most of the research to date has been based on English records, but nevertheless the study aims to have a world-wide coverage and many Hidden families which have become established overseas can connect with one of the main Hidden lines originating in England.

There is an extensive group of Hiddens in the USA who are descended from Andrew Hidden, whose marriage is recorded in Rowley, MA in 1654. Andrew was almost certainly from England, but his precise connection with the English Hiddens has not been established.

Further information is available in several published volumes and articles and on the Hidden One-Name Studies web site

Variant names

The most common variant spellings are Hiddon, Heddin, Hedden, Heading and Headding. All these variant spellings include families whose origins are quite different from those of the Hiddens. For example there are Heddens in Northumberland and Durham who probably derive their name from the place name Heddon (as in Heddon-on-the-Wall), and there are Headings in Cambridgeshire whose origins appear to be totally unconnected with the Hiddens of Berkshire. It is therefore often quite difficult to determine in a particular instance whether or not the name is indeed a variant of Hidden. There is however at least one case where the transiton from Hidden to Heading in the 17th century can be tracked, and which has given rise to a substantial branch who permanently adopted the Heading name.

The most usual direction of change is away from Hidden, but in Lancashire the old established Lancashire surname of Iddon has sometimes acquired an H and turned into Hiddon or Hidden. The big population movements arising from the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th and 19th centuries, make migration of some Hiddens from Southern England also a possibility.

Name origin

The main origin of the name in England can be traced to the manor and one-time hamlet of Hidden near Hungerford, Berkshire. The site of the manor house is still known as Great Hidden Farm.

Most present day Hiddens are descended from ancestors who lived in the neighbourhood of Hungerford, although two surname groups do not fit into this category. The largest exception is in Lancashire where the name seems to have originated as a variant spelling of the old established Lancashire name of Iddon. The other exception is a small group of Hiddons in Devon where Hiddon or Hydon appears as a component of place names like Clyst Hydon.

The surname Hidden also occurs in France, Germany and The Netherlands. In Germany, Hidden is an element in place names such as Hiddendorf, Hiddensee etc. In general it is unlikely that Hiddens in Continental Europe have any connection with the the English lines, but there may be some cases where migration of English Hiddens to Europe cannot be ruled out.

The Hidden name originated between about 1450 and 1500 A.D. and compared with most other surnames this is a very late date of origin. Early Hiddens were nearly always known as Hidden alias Clydesdale. The use of an alias by Berkshire families in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is not uncommon and is usually assumed to arise from a marriage between members of the two families. In the case of the Hidden/Clydesdale alias however, it was probably due to the wish of the Clydesdale family to be associated with the manor of Hidden.

There are practically no references in Berkshire or Wiltshire to any members of a family having the name Hidden before the time of John Hidden alias Clydesdale (c1480-1549). There are however a number of references in the area to Clydesdale family members before that date. It is probable that the above John was the son of another John Clydesdale who was leasee of an adjacent manor. It is certain that the younger John acquired the lease of the manor of Hidden from the Priory of St. Frideswide in Oxford. With the dissolution of the monasteries taking place during his lifetime the younger John would no doubt wish to use every means possible to emphasise his right to occupy the manor and pass it on to his children as their inheritance. As the farmer of the manor, which after the Dissolution he now held directly from the Crown, he was a significant figure in the local community, acting effectively as the lord of the manor, and he added the name Hidden to his own name of Clydesdale.

The place name Hidden is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It is said to said to derive from the Old English hyth-denu meaning 'a valley with a landing place'

There are references to Hyddene in 984 A.D. (Codex diplomaticus aevi Saxonici); Hyddene in 1050 A.D. (Earle J. A handbook to the land charters etc); Huddon c.1170 A.D. (Cartulary of the Monastery of St. Frideswide); Huddon in 1242 A.D. (The Book of Fees)


All General Register Office Index entries for Hidden births marriages and deaths have been extracted. Also all Hidden probates prior to 1858 and all Probate Registry grants from 1858 up to the 20th century. Very many 19th century census returns for Hiddens have been transcribed, and very many parish register entries.

Many other classes of document have been used such as rate books and other local and national taxation lists, poll books, muster rolls, law suits, Crown surveys, etc. Some of this information is available on the Hidden One-name Study web site and some published in three volumes of Hidden genealogy and in various articles. (see the Hidden One-Name Study web site for details of these publications).


A HIDDEN DNA project has been set up with Family Tree DNA

Males bearing the name HIDDEN and variant spellings such as HEADING and HEDDEN, are invited to join the project by donating a sample of their DNA

Details of the project can be found at