Originally a transferred use of the surname, but in independent use as a given name since the 18th century, when it was bestowed in honour of Admiral Lord Rodney (1719–92), who defeated the French navy in 1759–60. The surname probably derives ultimately from a place name, but the location and etymology of this are uncertain. Stoke Rodney in Somerset is named for the family: the manor was held by Richard de Rodene in the early 14th century. Rodden in Somerset was Reddene in Domesday Book; this may be the source of the surname.
English (chiefly West Midlands): habitational name from any of various places called Woodhall, for example in Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, and Lothian, so named from Old English wudu ‘wood’ + heall ‘hall’.