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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Watling is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. Watling is a name that comes from the Germanic personal name Walter. The name is composed of the elements wald, meaning rule and heri, meaning army.


The surname Watling was first found in Sussex where they were conjecturally descended from the village of Wartling or Whatlington, held at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book survey by William by the Count of Eu [1]. The hamlet consisted of 3 salt houses at that time. Although other historians conjecture that it was related to Watling Street, the great Roman Way which winds northward in England to Chester and the north, this seems impractical. Derived from this is also Watlington, "ton" meaning a hamlet. The many other explanations of the origin of this name such as the trade name of 'watling', a form of wall and roof construction of houses in ancient times, can be discounted as too general for such an isolated name. If this were the origin, Watling would be as popular and prolific as Carpenter and many other house building trade surnames. Watlington is a parish located in Norfolk and Oxfordshire. The latter has a most interesting history. The place name is supposed to have been derived from the Saxon Watelar, meaning "hurdles" or " wattles," alluding to the way in which the Britons are described to have built their towns, " as groves fenced in with hewn trees." It is traditionally said that a military chest of money was left at the house of Robert Parslow, in the town, and never afterwards claimed, in consequence of which he bequeathed a liberal donation to the poor of the parish. [2]

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Watling family name include Watling, Whatling, Watlington, Watlingtone, Whatlington and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Watling research. Another 373 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1332, 1200, 1688, 1695, 1711, 1792 and 1681 are included under the topic Early Watling History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Watling Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Watling family to immigrate North America:

Watling Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Ffrances Watling who settled in Virginia in 1660

Watling Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Watling landed in America in 1753

Watling Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Watling settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1842

Watling Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Robert Watling arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1847

Watling Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Watling, aged 19, a porter, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874


  • Edward Fairchild Watling (1899-1990), English school-master, classicist and translator
  • Leonor Watling (b. 1975), Spanish-born, British actress
  • Jack Watling (1923-2001), British film and television actor
  • Giles Watling (b. 1953), British actor
  • Dilys Watling (b. 1946), British actress nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical in 1970
  • Deborah Watling (b. 1948), British actress, best known for her role as Victoria Waterfield, on the BBC television series Doctor Who
  • Bradley-John "BJ" Watling (b. 1985), New Zealand cricketer
  • David Brian Watling, Senior Treasury Counsel


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Corde manuque
Motto Translation: With heart and hand.


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The Watling Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Watling Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 3 November 2015 at 09:25.

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