Recorded in several forms including Wilmington, Wolmington and Woolmington, this is an English surname. It is locational from various places called Wilmington of which examples exist in the counties of Shropshire, Somerset, Sussex, Kent and Devonshire. The oldest village is probably Wilmington in Kent first recorded in the year 858 a.d., at the very begining of written history in Britain and then as Wighelmes land. Later in the famous Domesday Book it is recorded as Wylminton, not so far in sound from the modern form. The name is tribal and refers to the estates of the tribe known as the Wighelms, who were also recorded in Shropshire. However the Devonshire Wilmington has the totally different meaning of the hill meadow, from the Olde English pre 7th century "dun" meaning hill and "maed", an area of grassland suitable for grazing. Locational surnames by their very nature are often "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification, after they left their original homes to live and work elsewhere. Spelling being at best erratic and dialects very thick, soon lead to the development of "sounds like" forms. In this case the first known recording is possibly that of Stephen de Wilminton of Kent in the Hundred Rolls of the year 1273. Later examples include John Wilmington of Somerset in the register of students of Oxford University in 1599, and James Woolmington, the son of Obediah Woolmington, christened at St Botolphs Bishopgate, in the city of London, on October 24th 1779.
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