This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from an ancient district in West Kent called Etherington (Hill), or from Hetherington in Northumberland. The former place is believed to have been so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Aethel(red)", with "ing", people of, and "tun", enclosure, settlement; hence, "settlement of Aethel's people". The latter gets its name either from the Olde English "Haeferingtun", "settlement associated with Haefer", a byname meaning "he-goat", or from the Olde English "hether", heath, heather, with "ing", implying "dwellers at", and "tun" (as above); hence, "dwellers at the enclosure on the heath".Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. One Edmund de Hetherynton was noted as a witness in the Assize Court Rolls of Northamptonshire, dated 1316. On July 1st 1570, Annes, daughter of John Etherington, was christened at Chichester, Sussex. A Coat of Arms granted to the Etherington family of Yorkshire is a shield divided per pale silver and black with three lions rampant counterchanged. A tower decayed on the sinister side, on the battlement a leopard's face proper, forms the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Hetherington, which was dated 1298, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1273 - 1307. 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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