This interesting surname, with variant spellings Walmisley, Walmsley, Wamsley, Warmsley, Walmsley and Waumsley, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational either from Walmersley, north of Bury, in Lancashire, or from Walmsley, an ecclesiastical district in Bolton-le-Moors parish, north of Bolton, Lancashire. The former place, first recorded as "Walmeresley" in the 1246, Assize Court Rolls of that county, and as "Walmerslegh" in 1332, is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wald", a wood, plus, "mere", lake (or "(ge)maere", boundary), and "leah", a wood; hence, "lake by the wood", or "boundary of the wood". The latter place is believed to have as its first element the genitive case of the Olde English personal name "Wealhmoer", foreign-famous, or "wealdmoer", rule-famous (probably the name of an early owner), plus "leah", wood. On December 2nd 1570, Dorothy Walmsley and William Cowper were married in Kirkham, Lancashire, and in 1608, one Henry Walmsley, of Accrington, was entered in Wills Records held at Chester. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is described thus: Gules (red) on a chief ermine a trefoil slipped vert (green) between two hurts, the Crest being a lion guardant statant ermine ducally crowned or (gold), charged on the body with a trefoil slipped vert. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Walmeresleghe, which was dated 1332, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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