This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an occupational name for a wagon-builder, a wainwright, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "waegnwyrhta", a maker of carts and wagons, a cartwright. The surname is a good example of the many medieval compound names ending with "wright", a maker, often a carpenter or joiner. Other examples are Boatwright, Shipwright, Cheesewright and Arkwright. The initial element "wain", derives from the Olde English "waeg(e)n, waen", which was a large open vehicle, usually four-wheeled, drawn by horses. The Oxford English Dictionary observes that "wainwright" is not found as a vocabulary word in Middle English, though its existence is attested by the surname which is first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below). Modern variants of the surname include Wainewright, Wainright, Waynewright, Wainwrigt and Winwright. Adam le Waynwrith is recorded in 1285 in Yorkshire, in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, while Alan le Waynwright is mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in 1332. John Wainwright senior, was a member of the Assembly which governed the Sommer Islands (the Barbadoes) in 1673. A Coat of Arms, depicting on a chevron between three fleurs-de-lis, a silver lion rampant and a black border engraved on a silver field, was granted to a Wainwright family in Dudley, Worcestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ailmar Wanwrecthe, which was dated 1237, in the "Documents of Hornchurch Priory", Essex, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.
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