This rare and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has the distinction of surviving the influence of the Norman Conquest of 1066 almost unchanged; many Olde English names were lost or very altered after that date. The name Woolway or Woolaway derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Wulfing", composed of the elements "wulf", wolf, and "wig", war. The personal name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Wluui" and "Wlui", as "Ulfui" in circa 1086 (Records of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk), and as "Wlwi" in the 1202 Pipe Rolls of Berkshire. The development of the surname includes: Lucas Wulwy (1230, London), William Wolwy (1275, Worcestershire) and Symon Wolvy (1279, Cambridgeshire). The modern surname can be found as Woolway and Woolaway. The marriage of Robert Woolway and Magdalen Briggs was recorded at St. Olave's church, Southwark, London, on the August 4th 1641. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Wulfwi, which was dated 1190, in the "Leicestershire Pipe Rolls", during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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