Last updated 23/03/2008
The earliest references to name Bidnell occur in the Hundred Rolls for Oxfordshire in 1279. At that time John de Bidenhulle held a villein tenure in Chinor cum Sydenham in the Chiltern Hundreds. Both places lie to the south west of Princes Risborough not far from an old Roman road, the Lower Icknield Way. Sydenham since has grown from the hamlet it then was into a substantial village.
Based on references found so far (IGI records, Census Index 1881), the name does not seem to have spread very far from Chinor in the past 700 years. Although there are references to Bidnells in London from at least 1525 most of the other references relate to locations in the vicinity of Baldock, Hitchin and Stevenage, e.g. Royston, Luton, Elmdon in Essex and Studham in Bedfordshire. Several of these places lie within a few miles of the Icknield Way, Baldock and Studham for instance, and this might indicate a preferred direction of migration.
In 1881 there were 22 Bidnall/Bidnells living in seven separate households in Hertfordshire. 3 of these households were in Royston, 3 in Clothall and one in Hemel Hempstead. Two Bidnells, 62 year old Elizabeth, a widow and former railway gate keeper who was living in the workhouse, and 21 year old William, a railway porter bording with Mrs Christina Minnis, lived in Hitchin.
Bidnell families still live in the area of Hitchin, Hemel Hempstead, Offley, Letchworth, Amersham, Bucks, and St Albans, and in the London region, e.g. St. Pancras, Hammersmith, Enfield, today.
The most popular male names prior to the 19th century appear to be William and Robert. In 1881 George and William were the most popular but many other names were used -Walter, Bertram, Samuel etc. The most popular female names…
See also Census of England & Wales 1901. Bidnell, etc Family File