Recorded in the spellings of Hedlin, Hedling, Hedlinge, Hedlon, Hodlin and Hodling, this unusual surname is almost certainly English and locational. It probably originates from the village of Headlam in County Durham, this village being first recorded in the year 1190 as Hedlum. The village name translates from the Olde English pre 7th century as 'an area overgrown by heather'. There is a second possibility that the surname is a diminutive derivative of the surname 'Hodd', that is to say 'Hodd + (k)in, with the 'k' transposed to 'l'. Given the lack of education and the very thick accents of the pre -medieval periods, such changes are quite common. The name as 'Hodd' itself has two possible derivations. The first is occupational and describes a maker of hoods from the Olde English 'hod' as in Osbernus Hod of Devon in the year 1130, or as a byname of the very popular Saxon name 'Richard' as in Gilbert Hodde of Somerset in 1243. Examples of the name recordings taken from original church registers indicate a continual change in spellings over the centuries. These recordings include Thomas Hedlinge at St Margarets church, Westminster, on July 1st 1564, and Mary Hedlon, the daughter of John Hedlon, christened at St Botolphs without Aldgate, London, on December 1st 1650. Henry Hedlin is recorded at St Mary le Bone, on January 30th 1708, John Hodling at St Mary Whitechapel on November 4th 1821, whilst in Yorkshire on August 23rd 1824, Elizabeth Hodlin, the daughter of Edward Hodlin, was christened at Hutton Cranswick. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Raffe Hedlynge, which was dated June 18th 1561, at St Margarets church, Westminster, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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