At first this seems a completely independent surname. Today there are 674 Longdons and 2148 Longdens. In 1881 there were 602 Longdons and 1,383 Longdens. This suggests the name was still moving from an –on ending to an –en ending in Victorian times. The name has its highest concentrations in Derbyshire and occurs in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and Nottinghamshire. The difficulty with the name is that it seems to have no origin. There is no place in this catchment area called Longdon or Longden. Of course Longdon could mean long down but one would expect a village to exist as with the lang-dons in Devon, Cornwall and Kent. The closest to a place name origin is Longstone in the Derbyshire Dales which is recorded in the Domesday book as Longesdune/Langesdune. There has clearly been drift in the placename from a long dun/down or hill to a long stone. There never was a long stone here but that is how the name has ended up. So despite the lack of a present day village this might well be the origin. The location is certainly right. .
The LONGSDEN shield is recorded by Burke as an eagle displayed with two heads Little Longsdon Co Derby said to be Temp Edward I. In the visitation of Derbyshire 1611 Stephen Longsden of Little Longsden was disclaimed of being a gentleman. Subsequently in 1628 following a fuller investigation he was recognised, I imagine money helped. His arms are not declared. The idea of a grant of arms in temp Edward I must surely be a fiction. The Longsdens in fact descend from Matthew Longsden illegitimate son of the Rector of Bakewell before temp Edward I. Subsequentlyin 1628 they are said to have arms of a double headed eagle but no tincture give. This is quite clearly a borrowing from the Leicestershire Langton arms of the double headed eagle suggesting in turn that the pronunciation was similar. We have then a merging of Langton, Longsdon and Longstone. .
There are however two factors suggest there may be a more significant connection with Langton. Firstly, taking the older form Longdon the highest concentration occurs in Codnor Park 14 people at 1.3048 per million, followed by Codnor with 19 people at 0.5246. The highest sizeable concentration of Langtons in the country is at Codnor 46 people at 1.27. This at the least is a remarkable coincidence for two not entirely dissimilar names. When looking at distribution maps of the Langton name one notices seeming gaps or holes in the western part of Derbyshire, Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds. With the exception of the Leeds hole the Longden distribution seems to fill this very area. Its main components are Sheffield 109 people, Chesterfield 49 people, Manchester 43 people, Macclesfield 43 and Chapel-en-le-Frith 37. This raises the possibility that Longdon/Longden is simply name drift from the numerous Langtons in the area. This idea may of course be entirely incorrect and I reserve the right to recant. However, given the lack of origin of a settled Longdon/Longden village this idea needs to be kept in mind. It could of course be tested out by DNA if we had matching Langton and Longdon/Longden samples from Derbyshire but that is not in my hands.
. Longden the larger of the two forms of the name had in 1881 488 in Yorkshire, 321 in Derbyshire, 197 in Lancashire, 148 in Cheshire 49 in Lincolnshire, 35 in London, 27 in Staffordshire and 21 in Warwickshire. The Longdon form of the name had 237 in Derbyshire, 66 in Yorkshire, 46 in Nottinghamshire, 36 in Lancashire, 33 in Staffordshire, 28 in Surrey, 26 in Gloucestershire, 25 in London, 18 in Lincolnshire and 18 in Glamorgan. The combined London total of 60, about 3% of the total is unusually low suggesting either that this is a very static population or, that the Longdon/Longden name is very recent not giving much time for people to move to the capital. This low capital population/recent origin argument also challenges the Longstone origin, since as the name moved to Longstone it is difficult to see it generating Longdens at the same time. .
A further development seems to be the progression to the form Logsdon. There were 81 Logsdons in the 1881 census either in London or the surrounding counties. However in the USA today there are over 10,000 Logsdons with over 2,000 in Kentucky alone. The word Log as in log cabin seems to have done a comprehensive job in transforming Longsdon to Logsdon. .
Conversely whereas the other surnames in this series of articles Lanton, Longhorn, Longton, Laynton, Landon, Langston all border Langton territory, the Longden name is an enclave within Langton territory and its perfect fit might just be a coincidence. .
Well, you may be a Longdon or a Longden or even a Logdon, but perhaps in addition you are also a Langton. Maybe you have traced back and found the name changes to Langton. If you have, please let us know. Having read this article please read the DNA articles and see the DNA article.