This interesting surname with variant spelling Weatherbed, Wetherbed etc., is probably a dialectal variant of "Weatherhead", which itself is an occupational name for a shepherd from the Medieval English "wether", wether, ram (from the old English "wether") plus the second element "herd", meaning herdsman. This name was also recorded in Scotland as the Calendar of the Laing Charters mentions that one William Wedderat was burgess of Lauder in 1493, while George Wedderheid was also mentioned in Scottish records. The name development included Weatherhead, Weathered, Withered to Witherbed. John le Wetterbirde was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire in 1297 and Henry Weydurberd, Wedirbed was mentioned in 1476 in the Derbyshire Charters. Jane Weatherhed was christened at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London on June 15th 1718 and Elizabeth daughter of George and Elizabeth Weatherbed was christened at Allhallows, London Wall, London on October 18th 1732. John Witherbed was christened at Shepshed, Leicestershire on March 7th 1771. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Augustin Wetherherde, which was dated 1214, Feet of Fines of Kent, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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