This ancient and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be a patronymic from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Wilheard", ultimately from the Germanic given name "Willard", composed of the elements "wil", will, desire, with "hard", brave, hardy, strong. "Wielardus" (without surname) is noted in the Domesday Book of Essex (1086). The surname may also have been an occupational name for a basket maker, deriving from the Olde English "wilige", basket. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below). Noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex are Nicholas Wylard (1296), William le Willer (1327) and Robert le Wyliar (1332). Recordings of the surname and its variants from London Church Registers include: the christening of Christopher, son of Roger Willer, on March 11th 1608, at St. Margaret's, Westminster; the christening of Eleis, daughter of Henry and Judith Willar, on March 20th 1745, at St. Paul's, Deptford; and the marriage of Joseph Willars and Sarah Bywater, on November 17th 1819, at St. Luke's, Old Street, Finsbury. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family is a silver shield with an ermines chevron between three flasks or jars proper, the Crest being a gold griffin's head erased. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wilard, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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