Recorded in several spellings including Wool, Wooll, Wull, and the plurals Wooles, Woolis, Woollis, and Woolls, this is an English surname. It has two possible origins. The first is occupational and derives from the Old English pre 7th century word 'wull' meaning wool, and hence a textile or literally a wool worker. Where the plural forms occur the name describes 'The son of the wool worker'.The second possible origin of the name is topographical and is said to be peculiar to South Western England. If so it denoted someone who lived by a spring or a stream. This is from the Middle English word 'woll', meaning a stream or spring, and a dialectal development of the original pre 7th century West Saxon word 'wiella'. The plural forms are genitive, and like the French de or the German von, mean 'of the stream (or spring)'. Examples of the early surviving recordings include the marriage of Margery Wooles and Edward Robinsone at St. James's church, Duke's Place, Westminster, on July 25th 1683, and the christening of Richard Woolis at St Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London, on February 13th 1697. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Wolle. This was dated 1296, in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, and known to history as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272-1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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