Recorded as Widlake, Wedlock, Wedlake, Woodlock and possibly others, this is an English and also Irish surname. It originates from a pre 7th century personal name Wudlac, translating as "play wood", and descends from a Wiltshire landowner called Wudulach. Two of his sons Tostin (see below) and Reginaldus, accompanied Strongbow, earl of Pembroke, when he invaded Ireland in 1169 and were subsequently awarded large estates in County Tipperary and Dublin. In the 17th Century these estates were seized and the families driven into exile, being both Roman Catholics and supporters of ex-King James 11nd of England (1685 - 1689). The surname is well recorded in England and examples taken from surviving church registers include Anne Wedlocke who married Thomas Buckley at St. Katherine by the Tower (of London), on March 6th 1683, whilst on October 6th 1819, Henry Bragley Wedlake married Charlotte Dell, at St. Pancras, Old Church, Paddington. In its place of origin Wiltshire, there are no recordings until February 22nd 1847, when William Wedlock was registered at St. Mark's Church, Swindon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Tostin Utlag. This was dated 1172, in the "Invasion Rolls of Ireland", during the reign of King Henry 11 of England, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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