This interesting name is an English medieval variant which derives from the French-German personal name "William". In the period after the 1066 Norman invasion, a large number of variants developed around "William", which in due course became surnames in their own right. These included Wilkin, Willin, Wilkie Willets etc., all of whom mean "the son of Will(iam)". Later variants derived from the variants and these included the modern form of Willan, Willans and Wilne which were created largely by localised dialect, but spread to all parts of Britain. Examples of the surname spellings include Ales Willan, who married Robert Sladen at St. Margarets, Westminster on June 6th 1597, Anne Wilne, who married John Taler at the church of St. Nicholas, Cole Abbey, London on July 7th 1661. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Wyllans, which was dated March 12th 1582, christened at the church of St. James, Garlickhite, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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