This famous national locational and descriptive nickname surname derives from the pre 7th Century Olde English and Anglo-Saxon word "waelisc", meaning "foreigner" or perhaps more likely in the passage of time, "stranger". Be that as it may it is one of the ironies of history that the invaders from North Germany and even the later Vikings, should apparently refer to the people that they conquered or at least drove from their original homes, as 'The Foreigner" and even more so that the name should have stuck. The surname is popular in many areas and countries, there being a large "Walsh" contingent in Ireland, where it is the fourth most popular surname, and even a small number in France, originally in the Nantes area. The modern surname is recorded in a wide variety of spellings, including Welch, Welche, Welsh, Walsh, Walshe, Walch, and Wellish. The early surname development includes examples such as Walter Walsheman of London in 1279, Simon Welshe of Bedford in the year 1279, John Walsh of Roxburgh, Scotland, in 1330, Margery Wellis in the 1327 Pipe Rolls of the county of Essex, and Lawrence Walsh of County Mayo, Ireland in 1588. The first recorded spelling of the family name is from Ireland. This is believed to be that of Haylen Walsh, the son of Phillip the Welshman, and dated 1171. He is recorded as being with Strongbow, earl of Pembroke, in his initial invasion of Ireland in that year. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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