This is surely one of the most interesting of Anglo Saxon derived surnames. The origin is from the pre 10th century "wild-eor" which literally translates as "wild animal". Perhaps surprisingly the population of the period would not have found such a name unusual, in fact it was baptismal and almost identical with such forms as "wild boar" or "wild fowl" now found as Wildbore and Wildgoose respectively. Anything to do with religion, war, or ferocious behaviour was grist to the mill for both the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans, indeed the very survival of the name is probably owing to it being 'borrowed' by a proud Norman after 1066! In the 12th century the baptismal name often, as in this case, developed into a surname. Some early researchers suggested that "Wilder" was like Wild, a nickname, but this seems unlikely. The subsequent surname has been recorded in many forms including Wylder, Willder, Wildor, Whilder etc. Examples taken from early church registers include Gideon Wilder, christened at the famous church of St Giles Cripplegate, on July 16th 1654, during the "reign" of Oliver Cromwell, and John Wilder, who married a lady recorded as Peregrine Bull, at St Mary Magdalene, also London, on May 3rd 1719. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wyldere, which was dated 1327, The subsidy rolls of Derbyshire, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The father of the Navy" 1327 - 1377 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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