This interesting surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a locational name from Shortlands, a place in north-west Kent, situated one mile west of Bromley. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "sceort" meaning short, with "land" land, and refers to a short piece of land. It may also mean "inferior" in an agricultural sense of "land lacking in minerals". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include; Elizabeth Shortland who married John Thymble on August 9th 1621 at St. Leonard's, Lexden, Essex; Joane Shortland who married John Gardner on July 20th 1626 at Earls Colne, Essex, and Thomas Shortland who married Abigall Clark on September 17th 1670 at St. Mary's, Marylebone Road, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Shortland family is red, on a gold chief a black bar dancette, the Crest being a blue seahorse rampant ducally gorged silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edward Shortland, which was dated June 29th 1618, marriage to Annis Turner at the church of Great Coggeshall, Essex, during the reign of King James 1st of England, 1603 - 1625. 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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