Recorded in various spellings including Will, Wills, Wille, La Wille, Wylle, and others this is a name of several origins. It usually derives as a short form from the Norman-French William, introduced into England by the Duke of Normandy after his invasion of 1066. Many medieval surnames were created from personal names in this way, whilst in a few cases it may be from one of the other personal names with "Will" as the first element, such as "Wilbert" or "Willard". The second possible origin is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word waella, the later Middle English wyll, meaning a spring or a stream and thus as a topographical surname denotes someone who lived by a spring (or stream). This source can be shown by the following record of John atte Wylle in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, 1296, where the preposition makes the topographical meaning clear. Lastly it may be French and again topographical from the word "vill or ville" meaning a large house or settlement. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Wille. This was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward Ist of England, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was often 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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