Landon and Landen

Landon today is a powerful surname in the USA with over eight and a half thousand people. It wasn’t always that way in the UK. Landon currently has 739 people in the UK with Landen adding a further 104. In 1881 the figures were 565 Landon 176 Landen. Whilst one might think that with this modest total of under 750, the name has a solitary origin, but this is definitely not the case. There is no Landon village to act as an origin. The first surprise is that the very similar Landon and Landen have very different distribution patterns, arguably they are different surnames. Landon distribution runs down the border with Wales then sweeps towards London in a roughly crescent shape through Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. Landen in contrast has more of an east coast pattern and most of them come from Kent around Gillingham and Chatham or from Yorkshire. .

Firstly, let us examine the majority Landon group. Apart from the London population this surname is strung out in an arc from Staffordshire to London. A lesser number are spread along the South Wales coast. This dispersed spread suggests we are not dealing with an independent surname which we might expect to find in a cluster but rather one that has derived from other surnames. There are perhaps four sources of the Landon name. Firstly we know that immigrants came from Flanders and used the names Landon and Landen we would expect to find them largely in London. Secondly we know in Lincolnshire some Langtons probably for reasons of illegitimacy used the name Landen or Llanden or Landon. Thirdly there may have been drift from the largely South West surname Langdon. However there are also villages of Langdon in Kent. Lastly there may have been drift from the Langton surname to Landon in the North and Midlands. Whilst Surrey has 48 Landons the Landon top figure is London with 90. Some of these people will have been the Flemish from Leiden (Landon), others may have been the result of drift from Langdon or Langton. .

The highest concentration of Landon is in Buckinghamshire largely at Aylesbury with 41 people at 0.0232. It is notable that Buckinghamshire is the high density county of the Langstons and some of this may represent drift from Langston to Langdon. The 21 Langdons of Kent either came from the Langdon villages in Kent or represent a drift from Langdons who originated from these villages. The main group of Langdons however were in the south west of England in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Opposite these counties across the Bristol Channel is the coast of South Wales. This Langdon geography accounts for 21 Landons in Devon, 18 in Somerset and 11 in Carmarthen. What is left is a crescent shaped swathe from Lancashire 55, Staffordshire 51, Shropshire 20 Montgomeryshire 5, Herefordshire 21, Worcestershire 23, Warwickshire 27, Northamptonshire 11, Buckinghamshire 41, Bedfordshire 6. This swathe of territory really has no centre and no Landon village. It borders the western and southern edges of Langton territory. It looks like drift from Langton to Landon on the very edge of the Langton domains. This is all conjecture of course but it is a workable theory where no other exists. It could of course be confirmed by DNA matches. .

The Landen Name has an entirely different geographic profile. It starts with Kent 51 in the extreme south east. Having relatives in Kent I can easily imagine them pronouncing Langdon as Landen. Next is Yorkshire with 36 mainly in Sheffield. This again looks like drift from Langton. I have argued elsewhere that the similar name Longden in Sheffield may also represents drift from Langton. London and Surrey each have 18 Landons who could be drift from Langton or Landon. The remainder essentially mark out the eastern limits of the Langtons, Durham 4, Yorkshire 36, Lincoln 16, Northants 7, Oxford 4, Essex 5. The final figure of 4 from Devon probably represents drift from Langdon.

The Lincoln total of 16 may contain descendents of the Landons of Dalby who were really illegitimate Langtons. They are responsible for most of the Landon shields including shields of Bustards (get it?) and cameleons. The last identifiable member of this line was Gery Landen of London. Are you descended from him? A final shield from Cheshunt Hertfordshire is similar to the Flanders shield and may therefore be the Flemish Landons. However the presence of a lizard (cameleon) on the shield suggests it was the Lincolnshire boys up to their old tricks. .

Are you a Landon/Landen from the Cheshunt area? In summary there are some mysteries to be solved and we would love it if you shared your DNA results with us. We do however have to admit that we are more interested in the Langton areas than the extreme south west peninsula. So if you are a Langdon/Langden from London/Surrey, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Montgomeryshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire or Durham please read the DNA article. It is quite likely that your DNA will be a match with a Langton from a neighbouring area.