Recorded in the modern spellings of Wheatland and Wheatlands, this is an English surname which probably originates from the county of Devonshire. It is however first recorded in a hereditary form in the county of Sussex in the early 14th century. In the year 1327 Richard Wetland is given as being a landowner or landholder in the tax register known as the 'Subsidy Rolls' of that county. It seems possible that the very first reference to the name is in Devon in the year 1281 when it is recorded that a family were living 'atte Whytelond'.Acccording to the 'Dictionary of English Surnames' by the late Professor P. H. Reaney of Sheffield University, this translates as 'the white lands', a term used in medieval times to indicate chalky or limestone soil. He also indicates that the first recording in Sussex as 'Wetland' translates as 'Wheat lands', but it seems more logical that it actually means 'wetlands', as this is or was, a common agricultural term for lands that were undrained, and dried out in the summer months. Recordings in the surviving church registers of London and Middlesex include those of Richard Wheatland, a witness at the church of St Andrew's Holborn, on September 14th 1614, and Isaac Wheatland, whose daughter Charlotte was christened at St Mary le Bone, on June 6th 1770.
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