Recorded as Medland, and the dialectals Medlin and Medling, this is an English topographical surname. It derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "maed", meaning meadow, in Middle English "mede", with the Olde English and Middle English word "land or lin", meaning land. Topographical surnames are often some of the earliest forms of distinguishing names, since they used natural or man made features in the landscape, as an identity. Originally they were often found with a preposition such as "atte" or "by" or the Olde French Norman, "de" as in the first recording below. Other examples of the name development taken from surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include those of Ann, the daughter of William and Margaret Medland who was christened at August 10th 1733, at St. Mary, Whitechapel, Stepney, whilst on January 15th 1753, Samuel, the son of Alexander Medlin was christened at St. Leonard's church, Shoreditch. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Medeland. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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