This interesting and unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a locational name from a place called Heblethwaite near Sedbergh in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The name Heblethwaite is a compound word from the Middle English dialect word "hebble", a plank bridge, with the Northern Middle English "thwaite", a meadow, patch of pasture land; hence "plank bridge by a patch of pasture land". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the late 14th Century (see below), and can also be found as Hebblewaite, Hebblewhite, Hepplewhite and Ebblewhite. Recordings of the surname from Yorkshire Church Registers include: the marriage of Agnes Hebblethwaite and John Bates on July 4th 1565 at Halifax; the marriage of Anne Hebblethwaite and Henry Robinson in February 1600 at Sedbergh; the christening of Miles, son of Henry Hebblethwaite on March 10th 1610 at Kirk Deighton; and the christening of John, son of Henry Hebblethwaite, on January 17th 1660 at Romaldkirk. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes de Hebletwayt, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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.