This interesting surname has three possible origins; firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Hwarthling", from the male given name "Hwartel", a diminutive of "Hwaet" meaning active, bold, brave, plus "ing", a patronymic suffix. This personal name is the first element in the placename Whatlington, from the place near Battle in Sussex, recorded as "Watlingetone" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The forenames "Whatlingus", "Watlin", and "Wathling" appear in the 12th Century records of Durham. Secondly, it may be of Old German origin, deriving from the Middle English given name "Wat(t), a short form of "Walter", itself coming from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements "wald" meaning rule, plus "heri, hari", army, introduced into England by the Normans as Watt(i)er and Waut(i)er, with the diminutive suffix "ing". Finally, it may be a locational name form Watling Street, a Roman military road which extended from the east coast of Kent into North Wales. London Church Records list the christening of John Watlynge on February 24th 1614 at Allhallows, Bread Street, and the marriage of Eleanor Whatling to Christopher Larstadt on May 19th 1777 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Wateling, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Edward 1st, 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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