Recorded in many and varied spellings which include Wollan, Woollam, Woollan, Wooland, Woolland, Woolen, Woolend, Woollend, Woollands, Woollends, Woolham and others, this is an English surname. It derives from the pre 7th century phrase "woh-landa" and is residential for a person who lived at a "curved (woh) land" or from a hamlet with the same meaning as shown below. The precise early meaning is uncertain, but it probably referred to land cut from the forest in a curve, to avoid a marsh or other obstacle. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given as easy identification to people who for whatever reason had left their former homes to move somewhere else, of which London was the popular choice. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick lead to the creation of "sounds like" spelings. It is also possible that the name could originate from any or all of several 'lost' medieval villages such as La Woweland which in 1235 was situated in the county of Hertfordshire, and Woolens Copse, formerly in the county of Cambridgeshire. Examples of the surname recordings include Samuel Woolens of Yorkshire in the Friary Register of 1637, and John Woolland in the Hearth Tax Rolls of 1674 for the county of Suffolk. The first recorded spelling of the family name in the surviving church registers may be that of Richard Woollan, which was dated May 14th 1558, when he married Marie Nevill at St Mary Colechurch, in the city of London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as 'Good Queen Bess' , 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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