Recorded as Westmoreland, Westmorland, Westmerland, and what may be a southern dialectal of Westmarland, this is an English regional surname. It describes a person from the former county of Westmorland, now part of Cumbria. The placename was originally called Westmoringaland, meaning the territory of the people living west of the Yorkshire moors, and the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century words "west-mor-ingas-landa". Locational surnames usually developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, often to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. However this surname in the first three spellings above, is not only well recorded in Northern England, but also in Westmorland and Duram. Here recordings include those of Mathew Westmerland, a witness at St Giles, Durham, on Octber 1st 1704, the perhaps surprising marriage of Thomas Westmoreland to Mary Westmoreland, on February 16th 1714 at Milburn, and that of John Westmorland to Elizabeth Peacock, on December 3rd 1747 at Warcop. Other recordings include those of Tymothie Westmerland, christened at St Brides, Fleet Street, in the city of London on April 4th 1563, and Joseph Westmarland who married Sarah Bourne at St Pancras Old Church, also in the city of London, on October 1st 1844. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Westmerland. This was dated 1242, in the Assize Rolls of Country Durham, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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