Wordsworth is a locational surname of Olde English origins. It originates from a place called Wadsworth, according to the eminent Victorian etymologist Canon C W Bardsley, a township in the parish of Halifax, although in fact it may equally originate in another Yorkshire village 'Wadworth', near Doncaster. The name means almost certainly 'Wadda's farm' with 'wadda' being a personal or baptismal name of the 7th century. The villages appear in the 1086 Domesday Book but the surname is much later. This type of locational surname developed when the original nameholders left their village usually as a result of loss of tenancy of the common grazing lands, and were forced to find a new life. They took (or were given) as their identification the name of the former home, and spelling being haphazard and local dialects very strong, soon lead to 'sounds like' spellings. In this case the development from Wadsworth to Wordsworth (when it happened) is first recorded in about 1560 when Christopher Wordesworth married Jane Synden at Ecclesfield, Yorkshire on November 16th of that year. It was also recorded as Wardesworth, Wadesworth, and Wordesworth, and all early recordings seem to be from the West Riding of Yorkshire. The coat of arms granted to the poet and his brother Christopher, Master of Trinity College, cambridge, has the blazon of a silver field, charged with three blue church bells, and the crest of an antelopes head. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter de Waddeworthe, which was dated 1381, listed in the rolls of the Freeman of York, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as 'Edward of Caernavon', 1377 - 1399. 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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