Recorded in several forms including Waiting, Watting, Waything, Waythen, Wheiting, Whatton, and Watton, this is an English surname. It is locational and either from any of the places called Watton, found in the counties of Hertfordshire, Norfolk and the East Riding of Yorkshire, or from a now 'lost' medieval village perhaps known as 'Waiton' or similar and probably in the north of England and possibly Yorkshire or Northumberland, although this is not proven. The village of Watton in Hertfordshire was first recorded as Wadtun in the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the 9th century. It derives from the pre 7th century word "wad" meaning woad, a plant from which blue dye was extracted, and "tun", a farm or settlement. Watton in Yorkshire has a quite different origin being from the Olde Norse word 'vatr, meaning wet and hence the settlement on the wetlands. We feel that the surname spelling as Waiting or Watting is probably from this source. Early examples of surname recordings include John Watton, who was christened in St. Stephen's Norwich, Norfolk, on March 11th 1592, whilst Elizabeth Waiting married Jonathon Phillips at St Brides Fleet Street, in the city of London, on November 6th 1740. 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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