Recorded as Westmoreland and Westmorland, this is an English surname. As such it is locational, and describes a person from the former county now part of Cumbria. The placename was originally called Westmoringaland, meaning the territory of the people living west of the Yorkshire moors. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century words "west-mor-ingas-landa". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is very well recorded in Northern England, especially in the bordering county of Yorkshire, whilst in Westmorland itself are records of the marriages of Thomas Westmoreland to Mary Westmoreland, on February 16th 1714 at Milburn, and of John Westmoreland to Elizabeth Peacock, on December 3rd 1747 at Warcop, with the marriage of William Westmoreland and Ann Bell, on November 28th 1748 at Wensley, in Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Westmerland, which was dated 1242, witness in the "Assize Rolls of 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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