This interesting surname is of English locational origin from one of two places. The first being a minor place near Holmes in the parish of Croston in Lancashire named Wignal and the second being a place in Norfolk named Wiggenhall, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, as Wigrehala. Both placenames are derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "wicga" meaning beetle or insect and "halh" a nook, hollow or recess; hence "a hollow area where insects frequented". The surname is first recorded in the early 13th Century, (see below). One Richard de Wigenhale is registered in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk (1273). Early recordings of the surname from the church registers of Lancashire include; William Wignall, who married Catherine Burscoe, on January 27th 1539, in Croston; on April 8th 1543, Ellen Wignall married William Riding, in Croston; Agnes Wignall, was christened on February 10th 1550, in the same place; and on April 28th 1556, Thomas, son of William Wignall, was christened in Kirkham. In the modern idiom the name is also found as Wignal, Wignell and Wignayle. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Wigenhale, which was dated circa 1216, History of Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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