This rare surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a topographical name for a dweller by the heather. The derivation is from the Middle English "at", at, from the Old English pre 7th Century "atte", and "lying", heather. There are many examples of topographical surnames with this particular prefix becoming absorbed into the name, for examples Attwell, Attenborough, and Altoe. Topographical names are some of the earliest names to be created, as topographical features, whether natural or manmade provided obvious and convenient means of identification. In the modern idiom the variants include Atlin, Atlen, Ettling, Attling, and in Cornwall at Lanteglos by Camelford on November 24th 1750 one George Atling was christened. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henerice Attling (marriage to Marie Shipton), which was dated January 20th 1662, Yarborough, Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Charles 11, "The Merry Monarch", 1660 - 1685. 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.