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Gatland Coat of Arms / Gatland Family Crest

GATLAND was a locational and occupational surname meaning 'the dweller by the clearing where goats grazed, one who tended the animals.' Local names usually denoted where a man held land. The name was derived from the Old English word 'geatland'. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. Early records mention William Gatelande who was documented in the year 1327 in the County of Sussex. Ralph atte Gatelond was recorded in 1332 Couny Sussex. Thomas Gatlande appears in 1457 County Yorkshire. The name is also spelt Gateland. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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