This interesting name is of Scottish and northern English origin, commonly found on both sides of the Scottish border. It is an ancient ethnic name meaning 'foreigner', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century (Anglian) word 'walh', foreign, used by the Anglians of the Strathclyde Celts, the Britons, who survived as a separate group in Scotland well into the Middle Ages. The name 'Wallace' is from the same source, the word 'Waleis', and was used to denote variously Scotsmen, Welshmen and Bretons as well as the Strathclyde Britons. The first recording of the name in England is that of 'William Wahh' in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire, 1379. In Scotland the Waughs of Heap in Roxburghshire held these lands from the 13th Century to the 17th Century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Walgh, which was dated 1296, Documents Relating to Scotland, Public Records Office, during the reign of John Balliol, King of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. 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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