Whilst this surname may seem obvious in its meaning, it nethertheless has a long and honourable history. That it is a locational name is beyond argument. It derives from the pre 7th century a.d. Olde English 'wode-londe' translating as 'at the woodland' or perhaps 'the glade in the wood'. Curiously perhaps there are at least four villages in England called 'Woodland'. In fact it is almost certain that the surname derives from one of the villages, and probably the one near Ashburton in Devon. Certainly the coat of arms was granted to the Woodlands of Woodland, Devon, and this is a good indication of origin. Early examples of the surname include Cicely de la Wodeland (of Devon) in the fifty second year of the reign of Henry 111 (1216 - 1272), whilst Peter de Wodelands appears in the Somerset Rolls of 1316. An interesting recording is that of Peter Woodland, described as a ropemaker, who sailed to Barbados on the ship 'Virgin of Hampton' of 60 tonnes burthen, on March 30th 1640. Presumably he made it because in the church register of St Michael's Parish, Barbados for July 25th 1679, is the christening of 'Mary, ye daughter of John Woodland'. The coat of arms has the blazon of a silver field, a black bend charged with three bucks heads attired in gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Wudeland, which was dated 1195, in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of 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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