This is an interesting and unusual medieval English name which is a dialectal variant of the locational name Whittingslow, a village near Church Stretton in Shropshire. The derivation of this placename is from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name 'Hwit(t)uc', with 'hlaw', meaning a burial mound, thus, Hwit(t)uc's burial mound or grave. The following examples show the name development of this village name over two hundred years. In the Domesday Book of 1086 the spelling appears as 'Witecheslawe', in the Feet of Fines of 1208, as 'Witokeslawa', and in the Calender of Fine Rolls of 1274 as 'Whittokeslowe'.It is recorded that James and Elizabeth Whichelow witnessed the christenings of two of their children at St. Martin-Vintry, London, Ann, on 14th April 1689 and Beniamin on 15th July 1690. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Whichelow, which was dated 1685, St. Martin-Vintry, London, during the reign of King James II, The Last Catholic King, 1685 - 1688. 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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