Watling History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Watling family

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]

Early History of the Watling family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Watling research. Another 187 words (13 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 and printed products wherever possible.

Watling Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Watling family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John (George) Watling (died 1681), an English buccaneer who claimed to have never plundered on the Sabbath and refused...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Watling Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Watling migration to the United States +

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, who landed in America in 1753
Watling Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Watling, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1842

Australia Watling migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Watling Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Rebecca Watling, (b. 1802), aged 35, English Convict who was convicted in Suffolk, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atwick" on 28 September 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Robert Watling, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1847 [4]

New Zealand Watling migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Watling Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Cecilia Watling, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Euphemus" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 12th February 1857 [5]
  • Mr. George Watling, (b. 1835), aged 23, British labourer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Maori" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1858 [5]
  • William Watling, aged 19, a porter, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Watling (post 1700) +

  • Edward Fairchild Watling (1899-1990), English school-master, classicist and translator
  • Deborah Watling (1948-2017), British actress, best known for her role as Victoria Waterfield, on the BBC television series Doctor Who [6]
  • 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
  • Bradley-John "BJ" Watling (b. 1985), New Zealand cricketer
  • David Brian Watling, Senior Treasury Counsel


The Watling Motto +

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.


  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.
  3. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 23rd August 2020, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atwick)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAVID MALCOLM 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847DavidMalcolm.htm
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ Deborah Watling. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Deborah Watling. Retrieved from http://www.deborahwatling.net/


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