this interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor or unrecorded place, perhaps a "lost" village. There are an estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from Britain since the 12th Century; the prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool-trade in the 15th Century, and natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. The original name is believed to have been in Kent, because of the high number of early recordings there, and the component elements of the placename are the Olde English pre 7th Century "blaec", black, dark coloured, and "land", land; hence, "dark coloured land". In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Blackesland, Blacksland, Blaksland, Bloxland, Blaxland, Blaxeland and Blaxlande. On May 13th 1567, Marye Blaxlande married Thomas Gybbes at Elmstone, Kent, and the christening of Thomas, son of Johis Blaxland, took place at Birchington, Kent, on August 28th 1580. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts an ermine fesse between three ermine falcons' heads erased on a green shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jacobi Blakyslond, which was dated October 21st 1538, witness at the christening of his daughter, Jhona, at the Church of Chislet, Kent, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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.