This very interesting surname of medieval Anglo-Scottish origins. It is the family name of Viscount Whitelaw, and is locational from any of the various places called Whitlaw or Whitelaw in the famous "Border counties" which straddle the demarcation line between England and Scotland. This was the centre of endless wars in the period from the Roman times until 1603, when following the death of Elizabeth of England, James V1 of Scotland also became James 1st of England. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th century word "hwit", white or possibly light, and "hlaw", a hill, perhaps a hill in a chalky location. In Scotland the surname as Whitelaw is a residential surname from a barony known as the lands of Whitelaw in the parish of Morebattle, or from the barony of Whitelaw in the parish of Bowden. The following name spelling examples illustrate the development after 1296 when the Scottish name holders gave homage to the government of Scotland known as "The Interegnnum" which was overthrown by Robert, The Brice, in 1306. These early recordings include John Whitelaw in 1430, Archibald de Quhitelaw in 1470, Patrick Quhitlaw in 1560, William Whitlau in 1736. In the modern idiom the spellings are Whitlaw, Whitelaw, and Whytelaw. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Wytelowe. This was dated 1296, in the registers of Scotland. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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