The English surname Sowden is of local origin, Local surnames were derived from the place where a person once lived, or a prominent local geographical feature, perhaps a hill identified one person who lived near a bridge, river, Lake Etc. Many of these names were preceded by a preposition such as “de”, “at”, “by” or “in”. These tended to lapse in later years. In this instance, the name denotes “of Suddon”, ie. the south down. This is a well known West-Country name.
Early references to the name Sowden and its variants Sowdon and Soudon include Roger le Soudan recorded in the Curia Regis Rolls of Yorkshire in 1208. Robert le Sowden who was noted in the Rouli Hundredorum of Buckinghamshire in 1279. Walter de Suddon, of county Somerset was documented by Edward III in Kirby’s Quest.