An English and Irish surname, Dudley comes from Old English terms of ‘dudda’ and ‘leah’ which refers to a large man’s woodland clearing. The spelling variations for Dudley include Dudly and Dudlie. In England the earliest Dudley families lived in Worcestershire, which is part of the West Midlands. From there they spread into Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and in and around the city of London. In Scotland the Dudley family name is mostly in Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, Midlothian, Angus and Lanarkshire counties. Within the United States the Dudley surname is found in over half the United States, mostly in the east. Those with the higher populations of Dudley families is Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, New York, Ohio, Missouri and Massachusetts. Famous: Charles Dudley (professional basketball player), Karen Dudley (writer), Anne Dudley (English music composer), Ed Dudley (professional golfer), Jared Dudley (professional basketball player), Nathan Dudley (Civil War Union Army Brigadier General), Peter Dudley (English actor), Robert Dudley (17th century English explorer) and Terence Dudley (English television director and producer).