This interesting and uncommon name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and may be either a locational or a topographical surname. In either case, the modern surname Waitland is a late medieval variant form of the names Wheatland or Whiteland. The former is found chiefly in the southern and western counties of England, and is a topographical name for someone who lived by "the wheat-land", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hwaete", wheat, with "land", land. The name Whit(e)land derives from the Olde English "hwit", white, with "land", as before, and may have originated as a locational name from Whitland in Carmarthenshire, or a topographical name found mainly in Devonshire from residence by white, chalky land. The surnames Wheatland and Whit(e)land have generated a variety of derivative forms, which it is not now possible to distinguish; these include Whetland, Whatland, Weatland, Wetland, Watland and Waitland. Examples from various Church Registers include: the marriage of Nicholas Whetland and An Wither at St. Lawrence's, Wootton, Hampshire, on July 26th 1568; the christening of Thomas Weatland on June 13th 1587, at Rudgwick in Sussex; and the christening of Charlotte, daughter of James and Mary Waitland, at Bersted, Sussex, on April 3rd 1808. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Whetlond, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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