This name, with variant spellings Wolas, Woolass, Wollas and Wholehouse, is particularly widespread in Yorkshire, and is of topographical origin for one dwelling by a warehouse where wool was stored. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "wull" meaning "wool", plus "hus", a house. The surname first appears on record in the latter part of the 13th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include Ralph del Wolehouse, "The subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire", (1301); John Wllehous or Wollehous, "The Court Rolls of the Borough of Colchester", (1377), and Sibota del Wolhouse, "The Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", (1379) William Woolhouse, bailiff of Yarmouth, was recorded in the Feet of Fines for Norfolk, (1545), and in 1687, John Woolhouse, B.A., admitted fellow of Magdalene College, Oxford, was entered in "The Oxford University Register".The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Malny del Wllehus, which was dated 1277, "The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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