This long-established name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Wetheral near Carlisle in Cumberland. The placename is recorded as "Wetherhala", circa 1100, in the "Register of the Priory of Wetherhal", and appears as "Wederhala" in the 1186 Cumberland Pipe Rolls; the name means "the haugh where wethers were kept", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wether", wether (castrated) ram, with "halh", nook, hollow, recess. In Northern England this latter element often has the specialized meaning of a "haugh", a piece of flat alluvial land by the side of a river, originally one deposited in a bend. Locational surnames, such as this, were used particularly as a means of identification by those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere; regional dialectal influences and varying standards of literacy often led to different forms of the original name. In this instance, the surname forms are We(a)therall, Wetherald, We(a)therell, Wetheril(l), Weather(h)ill and Wederell. In Yorkshire, the marriage of Thomas Wetherell and Margaret Micklethwaite was recorded at St. Martin and St. Gregory, York, on November 16th 1595. One Sackford Wetherell was an early settler in the American Colonies; he is listed in the "Muster of the Inhabitants in Virginia" taken in 1624 - 1625, as living in Elizabeth City, having arrived in the "Swan" in 1624. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Wederhale, which was dated 1292, in the "Records of Pleas and Warrants of Cumberland", 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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