This name, with variant spellings Windsor, Winser, Winzor, Winzer and Winzar, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from Winsor in Devonshire, near the mouth of the Yealm, or from Winsor in Hampshire, on Southampton water. The former was first recorded as "Winlesore" in the 1202 Fine Court Rolls of Devonshire, and the latter was recorded as "Windlesor" in the 1236 Assize Court Rolls of Hampshire. Both places derive their first element from the Olde English pre 7th Century "windels", a windlass (from "windan", to wind), plus "ora", a bank; hence, "landing-place with a windlass". These places are identical in origin with Windsor in Berkshire and Dorset. Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The British Royal Family took the surname Windsor from the Berkshire town in 1917, in lieu of Wettin. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was Frederick Albert Winsor (1763 - 1830), one of the pioneers of gas lighting, who lighted with gas part of Pall Mall, London in 1804. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godfrey de Windesor, which was dated 1066, in the Domesday Book of Hampshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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