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English: habitational name from any of several places called
Bowden or Bowdon. Bowden in Devon and Derbyshire and Bowdon in
Cheshire are named with Old English boga ‘bow’ + dun
‘hill’, i.e. ‘hill shaped like a bow’; one in Leicestershire
(Bugedone in Domesday Book) comes, according to Ekwall, from
the Old English personal name Buga (masculine) or
Bucge (feminine) + dun. There are also Scottish
places of this name, but there are comparatively few bearers of the
surname Bowden north of the border. In England the surname is
found most frequently in Lancashire and in the West Country. In Devon
and Cornwall there has been some confusion with the Norman personal