This surname is a distinctively Scottish double diminutive of the male given name William, itself coming from "Wilhelm", the Norman form of an Old French personal name composed of the Germanic elements "wil", will, desire, and "helm", helmet, protection. Introduced into England by the Normans at the time of the Conquest, William soon became the most popular given name in England, mainly, no doubt in honour of the Conqueror himself. It subsequently generated a wide variety of diminutive and pet forms including: Will, Wilkin, Wilkes, Willet and Willmot. A family of the surname Wilkie was seated at Rathobyres in Midlothian from the beginning of the 14th Century. One William Wilkie was a member of an Assize in Edinburgh in 1529, and Catherine Wilkie was recorded in Dysart, Fifeshire, c.1541. James Wilkie was a tenant of Newbattle Abbey in 1563, and in 1591 the accounts of the ballies of the burgh of Lanark were rendered to the Exchequer by William Wilkie, burgess there at that time. Sir David Wilkie (1785 - 1841), was appointed painter in ordinary in 1830, retaining the office under William 1V and Victoria. A Coat of Arms granted to the Wilkie family is a silver shield, with a fess wreathed azure and red, between a crescent in chief and a cinquefoil in base of the second. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of David Wilkie, who witnessed a notorial instrument, which was dated 1495, in "Records of Pitcairn, Fifeshire", during the reign of James 1V of Scotland, 1488 - 1513. 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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