This uncommon name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a dialectal variant of the locational or topographical surname Worthen, which derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century term "worthign", enclosure, homestead, and is particularly common in the West Midlands. As a topographical name, this term denoted residence at an enclosure or homestead; as a locational surname, Worthen and its variant forms Worthan, Wathan and Wathen derive from the place called Worthen near Minsterley in Shropshire. The place was recorded as "Wrdine" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Worthyn" in the Shropshire Charter Rolls of 1246, and is so called from the Olde English "worthign", as before. Locational names were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently generated variations on the original spelling of the name. Recordings of the surname include: the marriage of John Wathan and Agnys Long at Berkeley, Gloucestershire, on November 22nd 1572; and the marriage of James Wathan and Judith Hoskins on June 20th 1721, at All Saints, Herefordshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Worthin, which was dated 1274, in the "Hundred Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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