Recorded as Walker, Waulker, Walcar, and in Northern Ireland, Wilgar, this is an ancient surname. It is of Olde English and Scottish origins. It is usually occupational for a textile fuller, deriving from the pre 7th century word wealcere, meaning to walk or tread. The work of a fuller or walker, was to scour and thicken raw cloth in a large vessel containing a water mixture by beating or trampling on it. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and became hereditary when a son followed the father into the same line of business or skill. A second possible origin is locational from a village called Walker in Northumberland. This is recorded as Walkyr in the charters known as "Inquisitiones post mortem", dated 1268. The translation is "The wall by the marsh," and a reference to the Roman or Hadrians Wall. Early examples of surname recordings include Robert le Walker, in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire in 1260, whilst Sir Edward Walker (1612 - 1677), was the purchaser of Shakespeare's house at Stratford-on-Avon in 1675. In Belfast George Wilgar married Sarah Read at St Annes parish church, on December 23rd 1785. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Walkere. This was dated 1248, in Select Documents of the Abbey of Bec, Warwickshire, during the reign of Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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