This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a place so called in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The placename was recorded as "Winchelesworde" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Wicleswrthe" in the Fine Court Rolls of that county, circa 1201. The first element is believed to be derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Wincel", meaning "youth" or "child", and the Olde English "worth", a homestead; hence, "Wincel's homestead". Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname was first recorded at the beginning of the 13th Century (see below), and Willelmus de Wyglesworth appeared in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. Recordings from Yorkshire Church Registers include: the marriage of James Wigglesworth(e) and Jane Rycroft on November 19th 1558, at Gargrave, and the christening of Isabell, daughter of Thomas Wigglesworth, on December 27th 1582, at Pickhill with Roxby. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de (of) Wicleswrthe, which was dated 1202, witness in the "Fine Court Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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