This well known northern English name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from any one of three places: Wardle in Cheshire, near Nantwich; Wardle in Lancashire, near Rochdale; or Weardale in County Durham. Wardle in Cheshire is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Warhelle", and as "Wardhul" in 1278, while the place in Lancashire appears as "Wardhill" in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of 1218. Both placenames share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the watch hill", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "weard", watch, with "hyll", hill. Weardale in County Durham is recorded as "Werredal" in the 1227 Close Rolls, and as "Weredal" in the Durham Assize Court Rolls of 1242; the region is so called from the river Wear, itself named with an ancient British (pre-Roman) word meaning "liquid, water", and the Olde English "dael", valley. Early examples of the name include Thomas de Wardhill (1218, Lancashire), and Richard de Wardle (1275, Lincolnshire). The modern surname forms range from Wardle and Wardel(l) to Wardill, Wardall and Wardale. The marriage of John Wardell and Margaret Stockton was recorded on May 5th 1580, at Hurworth-on-Tees, County Durham, and Henry, son of Thomas Wardell, was christened on June 15th 1584, at St. Olave's, York. The family Coat of Arms depicts, on a silver shield, three bezants on a red bend between six red martlets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Werdale, which was dated 1216, in the "Priory Book of Fees of Durham", 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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