This very rare name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a late medieval variant of the (also uncommon) topographical surname Southland. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "suth", south, with "land", used variously to mean "estate, landed property, district", or, as here, a part of a village or estate; the surname Southland was used to denote someone who lived at or by "the southland", the southern part of a settlement or estate. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.The first recording of the surname in its original form is that of Christiana ate Southlande, in the Assize Court Rolls of Kent of 1317. The development of the name includes the following examples: Richard Suteland (1642, Devonshire); Robart Sutlyn (1650, London); Ann Soutlon (1652, Kent); John Southlyn (1669, Hertfordshire); and William Sutline (1695, Yorkshire). Among the recordings of the name in London Church Registers is that of the marriage of George Suttling and Sarah Ann Eade, at St. Peter's, Stepney, on January 13th 1873. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Sutlin, which was dated February 20th 1555, witness to the christening of his son, John, at St. George's Tombland, Norwich, Norfolk, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553- 1558. 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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