This interesting surname derives from the medieval female given name Cat(e)lin, an Anglo-Norman French form of Catherine. This name, with many variations, comes from the Greek word "Katharos" meaning pure and clean. The first known namebearer was the 4th Century St. Katharine of Alexandria, according to legend an Egyptian princess so learned that she confounded the arguments of all the wise men of Egypt with her defence of Christianity. The surname is first recorded at the end of the 12th Century, (see below). One, Sir Robert Catlin, was serjeant-at-law (1555), and chief-justice of the queen's bench (1559-1574), was knighted (1559), and died in 1574. On March 3rd 1570, John Catlin, was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney; in 1572, Elizabeth Catlin married Thomas Tounsend, in West Dereham, Norfolk; and John Catlin married Agnes Metcalfe, on July 7th 1578, at St. Margaret's, Westminster. In the modern idiom the name can be spelt Cattlin, Catling at Catlin. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Catelin, witness, which was dated 1198, The Fine Court Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King Richard 1, "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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