This is a famous English locational surname. According to the eminent Victorian etymologist Canon C W Bardsley writing in the year 1880, it originates from Wadsworth a township in the parish of Halifax, or Wadworth, a village near the town of Doncaster, both in the west riding of Yorkshire. The name means 'Wadda's farm' with 'wadda' being a personal or baptismal name of the 7th century. Both villages are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, although the surname is later. Locational surnames developed when the original nameholders left their village perhaps because of a loss of tenancy of the common grazing lands, and wherever they subsequently settled they often took (or were given) as their identification, the name of their former home. Spelling being at best haphazard and local dialects very strong, lead to the creation of 'sounds like' recordings in the local court rolls, church or manor registers. In this case the development from Wadsworth to Wordsworth seems to have been first recorded in the year 1560 when Christopher Wordesworth married Jane Synden at Ecclesfield, Yorkshire, on November 16th of that year. Also recorded as Wadworth, Wadsworth, Wadesworth, Wardesworth and Wordesworth, all early recordings, seem to be from the West Riding of Yorkshire. The coat of arms granted to the poet William Wordsworth 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. This was was dated 1381, in the rolls of the Freeman of York, during the reign of King Edward 11nd of England, 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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