This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Wighill in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The placename is recorded as "duae Wicheles" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Wikale" in the 1219 Feet of Fines, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wic", dwelling, village, town, or dairy-farm, and "halh", haugh, a piece of flat alluvial land by the side of a river, a corner of land; hence, "dairy-farm (or village) on a piece of flat land by the river". During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 14th Century (see below). In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Wighall, Wighill, Weigall, Wiggall, Weighell and Weighill. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Margret, daughter of Thomas Whighall, on January 7th 1575, at Manchester Cathedral, Manchester, Lancashire; the marriage of Katherine Wighell and William Anthony on September 8th 1588, at St. James' Clerkenwell, London; and the christening of Joseph, son of John Weighell, on December 27th 1722, at Kirkby Fleetham, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Katerina de Wyghehale, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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