Recorded as Attree, Attrie, Attrey, and similar Attreed, Attride and Attryde, this is an English surname of truly ancient origins. First recorded at the very dawn of surnames as shown below, it is topographical or perhaps locational, and describes a person who lived "atta ried" meaning at a clearing, or possibly "atta an eg" meaning an island. This may not have been an island surrounded by water, but simply an area raised above the surrounding landscape. Another suggestion is that it describes a dweller at a small stream or ride, as in the village of Ride in Surrey. Early examples of surname recordings include Walter att Ry in Huntingdonshire in 1320, and Henry at Ride in 1524. Surnames of similar provenance include Atlee, Atley, meaning at the farm, whilst Bytheway describes a dweller by the road, and Bywaters by a lake or river. Other early recordings are John ate Reghe of Sussex in 1287, and Henry ate Ryde in the Isle of Wight in 1524. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Attere in the rolls of Cambridge in 1272 during the reign of King Edwared 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.