Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Woolven, Woollven, Woolvern, Woolvin, Wolfin, Woollen, Woolin, Woollings, Woollon, Woollons and others, this is an early English surname. It is one of a group including Ottridge, Seabright, and Elfstan as examples, which may appear to be locational or perhaps in some cases, occupational, and to originate from a 'lost' medieval village, but which in origin are actually Olde English, pre 7th century, personal names. Over the fifteen or more centuries since these name were first created, the English language has undergone three almost complete changes, and a similar number of invasions. Whilst the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings despite their reputations, often cohabited with and accepted the social conditions of the native English, the Normans aided and abetted by 'The Church' went to a great deal of trouble to wipe out any 'English and Saxon' traces. This name however survived, and is one of the earliest on record. It is first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as the personal name Wluuine, becoming a surtname in 1236 with the recording of Nicholas Wolvin of Wiltshire. Other early examples include William Wulvyne of Sussex in 1296, and Richard Wolven of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax Rolls of 1379.
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