This most interesting and unusual name with variant spellings Wanlass, Wanliss, Wanlace, Wandless and Wandloss, is found in Scotland and the Northern English counties, probably originating as a nickname for a particularly unfortunate or luckless person, from the Middle English word "wanless", meaning luckless. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages and many modern-day surnames have derived from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. This surname is first recorded in Scotland in the mid 15th Century (see below) and is particularly widespread in Northumberland. One Robert Wanless was a witness of Linlithgow, Scotland in 1538, according to the Calendar of the Laing Charters, 854 - 1837. The Northumberland Church Registers record the following entries: Edward Wanless, an infant, christened in February 1584 at Morpeth; Edward Waulesse married Margaret Charlton at Hexham, on June 10th 1595. Robert Wandles was deacon of Coupar-Angus, in Scotland, in 1683. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon Wanles which was dated 1451, a monk in Melrose, recorded in the "Muniments of the Royal burgh of Irvine", during the reign of King James 11, known as "Ruler of Scotland", 1437 - 1460. 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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