Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Fousden, Fowsden, Vousdon, Vouseden, Vowsden
Category: 3 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way on a global basis.
DNA website: www.vousden.name/dna.htm
Contact: Mr Nigel Brown
Vousdens have lived in and around Goudhurst since at least the sixteenth century. More Vousdens seem to trace their ancestry back to Goudhurst than to any other known place.
I registered the name with the Guild of One-Name Studies early in 2006.
Forsden and de Forsdenne may be even earlier spellings of the name: in a Lay Subsidy tax list (of 1344) and a Will (of 1474) respectively, both in the area of Biddenden.
Vowden which appears to be a name from the Devon area is not considered a variant.
Another idea is that they may have come to England from Flanders, perhaps as early as the late thirteenth century after King Henry III invited workers of woollen cloth to come and settle in England. Flemish weavers settled in the Weald area on the Kent-Sussex borders. Many villages, including Goudhurst, still have old weavers cottages that reflect this wave of immigration. It could be that the surname Vousden has evolved from an original Flemish or Dutch surname.
However, I am most inclined to the view that the name is derived from the local 'dens' that were clearings in the great forest of the Weald where hog-breeding flourished in medieval times, and the first part of the surname may have been the given name of an early swineherd.
There have been quite a few Vousdens who have made significant achievements in their chosen field with their words and/or deeds, including:
According to a contemporary ONS database of surnames there are some 405 Vousdens in England, Wales and the Isle of Mann as of September 2002. This gives a frequency of 1 in 134,321 or 0.00074% of the population, making Vousden the 12,625th most common name in England and Wales.
My (occasional) Vousden blog is at http://vousden.blogspot.com/ or can be accessed from the main menu on the above web site.
There is a RootsWeb Surname Message Board at http://www.rootsweb.com/
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: