Recorded in a number of spellings as shown below, this very interesting surname is from two possible English origins. The first is from the pre 7th Century personal name Weorthlic, meaning worthy or distinguished, whilst the second is locational from Woolwich, in the county of Kent, and famous for many years as being the home of Arsenal Football Club. Woolwich means 'The wool farm' , from the words 'wull' and 'wic', although this word usually described a dairy farm as in Gatwick, the goat farm. The development of the surname has included examples in the same area such as John Worlych (1524), Richard Worleche (1536), and Maria Worledge (1671), all in the same county of Suffolk. The modern surname variants include Woolwich, Worledge, Worlidge, Wolledge, Woollage and others. Examples of recordings taken from early church registers include Peter Worlidge at St Benet Fink, in the city of London on October 22nd 1546, and Ellen Worledge who married William Andros on February 16th 1586 at St. Leonard's Eastcheap, also city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of John Woorliche. This is dated 1468, in the records for the county of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward IV, 1461 - 1483. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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