This most interesting surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a variant form of "Wilsden", a locational name from Wilsden, near Bradford in Yorkshire. This placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Wilsige" and "denu", the Olde English word for valley, hence "the valley of Wilsige's people". It was recorded as "Wilsedene" in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as "Wulsingdene", circa 1200, in the Yorkshire Charters. The surname itself first appears relatively late in the mid 17th Century (see below). The following entries appear in the London Church Registers: Martha, daughter of John Wilsden, who was christened at St. Luke's, Chelsea on November 1st 1696, and John, son of Edward and Mary Willsdon, christened on April 28th 1745 at St. Luke's, Old Street, Finsbury. The following marriages appear in the Oxfordshire Church Registers: Robert Wilsden to Alice Bew in 1643 at Wootton, and Mary Wilsdon to Jeremiah Leper in 1675 at Chesterton. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Radulphus Wilsden which was dated November 14th 1642, marriage to Elizabeth Lister, at "St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, London", during the reign of King Charles 1st, known as "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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