Placenames often preserve information relating to the history of an area that is not found explicitly in documentary or archaeological sources. For instance, the language and form of a name can give clues about the origins of a settlement and the form which it took, whilst field names can indicate past discoveries of buried treasure or suggest former land use and topography.
Carden is first attested in 1230 as Kauerthin; other forms beginning Kar- or Car- show it to be derived from an Old English *Carrworðign, ‘enclosure at a rock’. The element worðign is relatively common in the region, being attested at Worthenbury, Hawarden (where the pronunciation “Harden” exactly parallels the history of the name of Carden whilst retaining the older spelling), Arden, Larden, Northenden and Woodworth Green. What type of enclosure it refers to is not known, if it refers to a specific type; the name Worthenbury is certainly suggestive of a fortification as it contains the Old English burh. The only other local occurrence of carr is in the form Bedestonecarre recorded for Bidston Hill in 1303.
This type of name is difficult to date, and could have formed at any time between the seventh century and the first record of the name in 1230. The type of enclosure associated with a worð name is usually assumed to have been the smallest type of dependent farmstead in a larger estate, which could explain why the Domesday Commissioners did not distinguish Carden from Tilston. As a minor subdivision of an estate based at Tilston, Carden would not have been mentioned as a separate unit until the fragmentation of Saxon estates in the post-conquest period.