Recorded as Sunderland, and sometimes Sincerland, this is an English medieval surname. It originates either from the prominent town of Sunderland in County Durham, or from lost villages and localities called Sunderland in the counties of Cumberland, Lancashire and Northumberland. Sunderland in Durham is first recorded as Suthlanda in the year 1177. It translates as the "south land", and refers to agricultural lands to the south of the main farm or settlement. The other places have a slightly different meaning of "land separated from a main estate", from the Olde English word sundor, meaning separate or divided. The famous English cleric and early historian, The Venerable Bede, was born in the Sundurlond of the abbey of Jarrow, according to his book "Historia Ecclesiastica", written in the 7th century. Early examples of the surname in church registers include Abrahame Sunderland, christened at Burnley in Lancashire, on March 11th 1580, whilst on January 19th 1583, Isabel Sunderland and Bartholomew Collyer were married at Houghton le Spring, County Durham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Sunderland, and dated 1292, in the Pipe Rolls of Lancashire. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st of England and known as The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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