This surname was a locational name 'of Wetherall' in County Cumberland, a parish near Carlisle. The name was originally derived from the Old English word WEOERHALH, literally meaning the dweller in a nook or recess, denoting a piece of land by the side of a river, one deposited in a bend. Local names normally denoted where a man owned land. Early records of the name mention Richard de Wederhal, 1332 County Cumberland and Thomas Weatheritt of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Wetherald was recorded in the year 1429 in the County of Suffolk. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. Later instances of the name mention Thomas Wethereld of Cumberland who registered at Oxford University in the year 1617. Rowland Wetherall married Margaret More at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1618. The name has many variant spellings including Wetherall and Weatherall. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name.
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