Recorded in at least three spellings Wooler, Wooller and Woller, this is an English surname. It is either job descriptive for a dresser, weaver or seller of wool, the derivation being from the Olde English pre 7th century 'wull', or it is locational from the little town of Wooler in Northumberland. The place name is first recorded as early as the year 1187 in the spelling of Wulloure. The late Professor Ekwall gives the meaning as 'the place on the bank of the river', suggesting that the prefix was originally 'waella' meaning in this context 'river' although normally it would describe a spring.The first known recordings are clearly job descriptive, and indicate the geographical locations of the early textile industry. These recordings include William le Woller in the tax records known as the Subsidy Rolls for the county of Essex for the year 1319, whilst John Woller appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327. These job descriptive recordings also include Thomas le Wollestre of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1297. This is an interesting recording because Wollestre, which now seems to be extinct as a surname, was the femine form of Wooler, as for instance, Baxter is for Baker. It would seem that the later recording of John Wollore of Yorkshire in the Friary Rolls of that county in the year 1430, was a former inhabitant of Wooller in Northumberland. The development of surnames over the centuries has rarely followed a straight line. This is particularly so when, as with this surname, there is known to be more than one original source.
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