This rare surname is a variant spelling of Watson which is of early medieval origin, and is one of the patronymic forms of the popular male personal name 'Wat(t), meaning 'son of Wat(t)'. The ultimate origin of the name is from the Germanic personal name 'Walter', composed of the elements 'wald', rule, and 'heri, hari', army, which was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, in the form 'Walt(i)er', or 'Waut(i)er'. The name quickly generated a number of variant forms, among them the short or 'pet' forms 'Wat(t) and 'Walt', and from these the patronymics 'Watts', 'Wattis', 'Whatson' and 'Watson'. The surname as 'Wat(t)' is first recorded as 'Paganns Wat', in the 1176 Devonshire Pipe Rolls. An early recording of the original form of this variant is Abigaill Whatsonne christened on January 8th 1595, at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, and at St. Paul's Deptford of the christening of Ann Whatson on June 3rd 1748. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Watson, which was dated 1324, Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, during the reign of King Edward 11, 'Edward of Caernafon', 1307-1327. 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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