Select Arden Surname Genealogy

Warwickshire’s Forest of Arden (from the old Celtic word ard meaning “high”) is the origin of the Arden surname and family in the same county. This Arden family is one of only two families in England that can trace their lineage in the male line back to pre-Norman Anglo-Saxon times, the other being the Berkeley family in Gloucestershire.

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Select Arden Ancestry

England. Aelfwine was Sheriff of Warwickshire in the year 1050, just before the time of the Norman Conquest. He was succeeded by his son, Thorkell of Arden, and his son and heir, Siward de Arden, was the forebear of the Arden family of Warwickshire. Subsequent
generations of the family were prominent in Warwickshire affairs and on many occasions held its shievalty. From the time of Sir Henry de Arden in the 14th century the Ardens had their primary estate at Park Hall.

The Arden line at Park Hall continued until 1643. Later Ardens suffered for their support of the Catholic faith. Edward Arden was in
fact accused of plotting against the Queen and was brutally executed in 1583 in the fashion of the day. His father had been William Arden, second cousin to Mary Arden of Wilmcote, the mother of William Shakespeare.

Although the senior line died, the Arden family survived in branches that were descended from younger sons of earlier generations, most notably at Longcroft near Yoxall in Staffordshire. From the line at Bredbury,near Stockport in Lancashire, came Richard Arden, a lawyer and politician, who was made Baron Alvanley in 1801. His nephew who inherited the title dissipated the family fortune, however.

Possibly related were:

  • Thomas Arden of Arden of Faversham in Kent
  • the Ardens of the village of Bourne in Lincolnshire
  • and the Ardens in Cheshire.

An Arden family held pride of place in Dorchester in the west country, starting with Daniel Arden in the 17th century. He was elected mayor of Dorchester in 1691. No fewer than sixteen times was an Arden to hold that post between then and 1852.

There were also Ardens in Beverley, Yorkshire. John Arden, a schoolmaster and “teacher of experimental philosophy,” settled there in 1756. His daughter Jane was a friend of the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. A later John Arden was nine times mayor of Beverley. He helped start a wine and spirits business in Beverley that ran until 1936.

America. The Arden name appeared in 18th century New York, dating back to Jacques Arden who had married Abijah Bouquet in 1715. The origins were uncertain. The families appear to have been a mix of Dutch Reformed and Huguenot. Richard Dean Arden of this family moved into a new home at Garrison along the Hudson in 1819. Mary Antoinette Arden married into the Parrott family and she gave her name to the Arden estate of the Harrimans nearby.

However, the best-known Ardens in America have been those with assumed names – Elizabeth Arden the cosmetics magnate (born Florence Graham) and the movie actress Eve Arden (born Eunice Quedens).

Australia. In 1838 George Arden of the Longcroft Ardens emigrated to Melbourne, where, after an initial career in journalism, his life went downhill and he was found dead at the gold diggings in Ballarat in 1854. His brother Alfred followed him to
Melbourne, married, and settled down at the Higay station near Merino, Victoria.

Select Arden Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Arden Names

Edward Arden was the head of the Arden family in Warwickshire martyred for his Catholic faith during Elizabethan times.
Mary Arden was the mother of William Shakespeare.
Elizabeth Arden was the Canadian-American businesswoman who founded the Elizabeth Arden cosmetics firm. She was born Florence Graham.

Select Ardens Today

  • 1,200 in the UK (most numerous in Lancashire)
  • 800 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 500 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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