This English locational surname is recorded in several spellings including Witherington, Wittrington, Withrington and Withringten. All are locational and derive from a village in Wiltshire called 'Witterington' and six miles from Salisbury. The meaning is obscure, but assuming that any name development over the centuries has preserved the original spelling it probably translates as 'the people (ing) who live at a farm (tun) by the morass (wiver)'. This seems logical given the relatively wild countryside of the pre-medieval period, but is not proven. The closeness of the spelling suggests that this village may have been the home of the famous Dick Whittington, however this is claimed by Whittington in Derbyshire. What is certain is that the earliest recordings of the surname are not in Wiltshire but in London. This is itself is not unusual, people moved around a lot in the late medieval period, and the natural epi-centre was London, and it was here above all places, that they tended to be called after their original homestead, as an easy method of identification. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from the relevant church registers include Marthee Withrington, who married John Ballard at St Peters church, Pauls Wharf, London, on November 17th 1646, Thomas Witherington who married Martha Fitzherbert at Lukkington, Wiltshire, on February 12th 1647, and Willi Wetherenton, christened at St Giles Cripplegate, London, on February 13th 1651, in the 'reign' of Oliver Cromwell (1649 - 1658). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Witterington, which was dated February 26th 1597, who married Mary Abbot at St Mary Somerset, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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