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About the study
With two Americans (Melody Taylor and Anita Woodnutt) and Jennifer Long, another English Woodnutt descendant, we have been systematically recording the names into about a dozen Trees. Anita can trace her husband Tom's WOODNUTT tree back to the mid 17th Century when they migrated to the United States (not long after the Pilgrim Fathers) but so far we can find no direct link between Tom's tree and that of Melody's, Jennifer's and my trees, which are linked by DNA and all seem to originate in the Isle of Wight.
According to some of the Surname Research companies, the name is 'rare, interesting and of Anglo-Saxon origin' and could be a 'pre 7th Century personal name "Wadeoth"'. From our own research, we think it could be Anglo-Norman and derives from ODENOT(US) - who was possibly AUDENOT a Knight mentioned in the Hastings Rolls and Domesday book. There are recorded WOODNOTH's from 1160 onwards with WODENOT of Swanley and Shavington mentioned in documents from the 1260's.
Historical occurrences of the name
From the 13th Century the WOODNOTH's were listed as 'Lords of Shavington'. The manor house appears to have been on or near the site of the present Shavington Hall, and there successive generations of the WOODNOTH's lived for four hundred years from about the mid-thirteenth century, and a descendant is known to have been living in the village early in the eighteenth century. (Savington: The Story of a South Cheshire Villageâ by Geoffrey Nulty 1959, pp 10-17.)
In 1402/3 John WODENOTTE was the collector of a subsidy in the Hundred of Nantwich and his son another John WODNOTE continued as a collector in 1476.
About 1578 Mary WOODNOTH marries Nicholas FERRAR of London, a prominent East Indies merchant, producing a daughter and five sons, including Nicholas FERRAR (1592-1637) of Little Giddings, who was an early member of the Virginia Company, the group which established the American colony in 1607. Arthur WOODNOTH, a cousin of Nicholas Jnr became a goldsmith in London before settling in Cornwall.