This interesting name is composed of two Middle English words, "Whelp" meaning a pup or a cub, used as a nickname as in Richard le Wheelp, recorded in the Close Rolls during the reign of King Edward I, and "dale" a valley. As a place name Whelpdale is not recorded and was probably a lost village, disappearing during the 14th Century, due to black Death of 1348 or land clearance by the wealthy landowners to make room for sheep farming as a more economic venture, all that remains is the surname. The earliest recording of the name in Hertfordshire is the christening of one Mary Whelpdale at Ware, in 1616. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Andrew Whelpdale married Maye Lyn. which was dated 14 April 1583, Saint Margarets', Westminster. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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.