This ancient and uncommon name is English. Now chiefly recorded in the area of the country known as East Anglia, it derives from an Olde English pre 7th Century male personal name "Wulfnoth", composed of the elements "wulf", meaning wolf, and "noth", daring or bold. As a given name only it is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as Wlnod, Vlnoth, and Vlnoht, whilst Wulnoth Koc is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex in the year 1296. The personal name remained in use at least until the 14th Century, and generated a variety of surnames including: Woolner, Woolnoth, Woolnough, and Wolfner.Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving rolls and charters of the medieval period include: Ranolph Wollenoth of Huntingfordshire in 1284; Robert Wolthnoth of Suffolk in 1327; and Thomas Wolnoth also of Suffolk in 1348. Recordings taken from the later church registers introduced after the year 1535 include: the marriage at St Peters church, Norwich, of William Woolnough and Agnes Baldon in 1549, and the marriage of Henry Wolnough and Margaret Dowsing also at Norwich in 1566. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wulnoth. This was dated 1221, in the charters of the abbey of Ely, in Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111 of England, 1216 - 1272. 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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