This interesting surname brings us back to the earliest days of England. It is capable of a number of interpretations centring round several Middle English roots with a general significance of wood. A related word in the Old High German was 'wida' with a general meaning of withies or willows. It is found in Old English as 'Withigh', referring to a dweller by Willow trees. Placenames embodying variants of that element are common in the North of England. The Pipe Rolls of Northumberland record a 'Wildeslade' in 1197 later to be known as 'Wydeslad' in the Book of Fees (1242) and now known as Weedslade. The surnames Weeds, and variants Weedes, Wedd, Wood and Woods etc., are in most cases topographical names or metonymic occupational names for workers with wood. One Samuel Weeds is recorded as marrying Anne Harvey at St. Leonards, Colchester, Essex on September 15th 1659. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Weedes married Margaret Anglestone, which was dated 1st September 1611, St. Dunstan's Stepney, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England and James V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1620. 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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