This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either a topographical or a locational name. It may be of topographical origin, given to "a dweller by the curved or crooked land(s)", from the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "woh", curved and "land", land. The surname may also be a variant of "Woolland", an English locational surname from a place so called near Blandford in Dorset, which appeared as "Wouland" in the Saxon Chronicles of 939, and as "Winlande" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The placename is composed of the Olde English elements "wynn", meadow and "land", land. In the modern idiom variants of the surname include Woolland, Wollan, Woolan, Woollons, Woolen, Wollan, Woolam and Woolham. Early examples of the surname include: the marriage of Reynald Wollen and Agnes Cook on November 21st 1561 at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London; the marriage of Agnes Woolline and Robert Lee on April 4th 1581 at Rotherham, Yorkshire; and the marriage of Jeffray Wollin and Frances Dyckson on November 9th 1591, also at Rotherham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jone Wolleynes, which was dated May 20th 1561, marriage to John Philpot, at St. Peter's, Cornhill, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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