Recorded as Withar, Wither, and the patronymic Withers, this interesting surname of English origins, has two possible sources. The first is from the Old Norse male personal name "Vitharr", or the Old Danish form "Withar". These names are composed of the elements vith or with, meaning wide, with arr, a messenger. The Domesday Book of 1086 records the personal name as Wither in Norfolk, and as Wider in Lincolnshire, and one Richerus filius Wither is recorded in Norfolk in 1153. The first recording of the modern surname (see below) is from this source. The second possible origin of the surname is from an Anglo-Saxon topographical name for someone who lived near a willow tree. This derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "withe", meaning willow. The first recording of the name from this source is contained in the Sussex Subsidy Rolls of 1327, with John Wythiar. The plural form of the name, Withers, is either the patronymic (son of Wither), or the genitive form, "of the willow tree". The marriage of John Withers and Annie Newton was recorded in London on September 13th 1584. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name from Norfolk has the blazon of a red chevron between three black crescents on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wither, which was dated circa 1160, in "Charters Relating to the Gilbertine Houses", London, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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