Recorded in several spellings including Wichard, Witchard, Witard, Whicher, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It originates from the pre 7th century word "hwicce", meaning a chest, and hence was occupational for a maker of wooden chests, perhaps the first and single most important piece of furniture in early dwellings. A second possibilty is from the word "wic", generally meaning a dairy farm. This word also developed into both wike and wiche with the same meaning. Thirdly the name could describe a person who lived by a wych-elm wood or enclosure, as in Witcha Farm in Ramsbury, Wiltshire, the home of Richard atte Wycheheye. This is recorded in the placenames book of Wiltshire in 1332. Other recordings from the medieival period include Richard Wicher in the Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1279, whilst Robert le Wiccher was listed in Oxford in 1288. other recordings include Charles Witchard at Lechlade in Gloucestershire on April 8th, 1614, and John Witchard, christened at St James Clerkenwell,city of London, on April 14th 1790. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wicher. This was dated 1176, in the Pipe Rolls of Berkshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, and known as The church builder, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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