This interesting surname with variant spelling Willer, derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "wilige" meaning basket and would have been a metonymic occupational name for a maker or seller of baskets. The name may also be a patronymic form of the Germanic male given name "Willard", composed of the elements "wil" meaning will or desire plus "hard" brave, hardy or strong. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century, (see below). Recorded in the "Middle English Occupational Terms" of Hampshire are John le Wylyare (1327), and William le Wyliere (1332). Recordings of the surname from the London church registers include; Katherine, daughter of Jeffery Wyller, who was christened on January 30th 1595, at St. Bride, Fleet Street, the christening of Christopher, son of Roger Willer, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, on March 11th 1608; on February 10th 1677, Cornelia, daughter of John and Maudlin Willers, was christened at St. Giles, Crippplegate; and Hanah Willers married John Hudson on April 27th 1699, at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Willer, which was dated 1327, Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 111, "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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