If surnames were actually to mean what they say, and few do, this would be an obvious candidate. In fact as everybody in pre-Norman (1066) times lived in wooden dwellings of some sort, the term "Wudu-halle" in the Olde English clearly meant something quite different. Villages or hamlets or even single houses called Woodhall or Wood Hall are recorded in several areas, but principally Yorkshire which has at least five examples. Research suggests that a "Wood Hall" was the place where the original Saxon Courts met to agree the business of the great forests, and to try offenders for poaching, trespass, and vagrancy. It is possible that the medieval surname was both locational and possibly occupational, for one who both lived at and was employed by the "Wood Hall". The surname is one of the earliest on record, perhaps not surprisingly so, as the management of the forests, was accorded the major priorities of the day. The early recordings include Jordan de la Wodehale, in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire for the year 1265, and John de Wodhall in the Cumbria Rolls of 1332. Later forms include Thomas Woodhall, son of Johannis Woodhall, christened at Howden, Yorkshire on August 15th 1547, and Humfrey Woodhall, son of John and Sarah Woodhall, christened at St Benets, Pauls Wharf, London on June 5th 1623. Another example is that of Elizabeth Woodhall who married William Olerenshaw at Manchester Cathedral on May 27th 1798. The Coat of Arms is gold, with a blazon of three red crescents, and a crest of a gold coronet, signifying victory over the infidel Turks. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter de Wudehale, which was dated 1193, The pipe rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart" 1189 - 1199. 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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