This interesting name is of English origin and is a dialectual variant of a locational name from a place in Northumberland called Hetherington. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "haeth", a heath and "tun" a settlement, thus "the farm of the heath". During the Middle Ages, when it was becoming increasingly usual for people to migrate to other areas to seek work, they would often adopt or be given their placename of birth as a means of identification, thus resulting in the wide dispersal of the names. In Hexham, Northumberland, one Elizabeth Heatherington married Lionell Charlton on 12th May 1594. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Heterhington, which was dated 1298, Assize Rolls, Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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