Recorded in many forms including: Wreath, Wraith, Wrate, Wrates, Wroth and Wroath, this is a surname of English origins. Derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "wrath", meaning angry or fierce, it was a nickname either for somebody with a fierce temper, or more probably given the robust humour of the medieval period, the reverse, in fact a quiet person. It is is an example of a sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and sometimes supposed resemblance to an animal or birds in appearance or disposition. It has been claimed that originally the surname as Wraith was usually found in Northern England, although the spellings as Wroth and Wroath are generally from the south of the country. Recordings of the surname from early church registers include; Ales Wrate who married John Harte at Tottenham, on November 27th 1559, Thomas Wrath, appears in the Friary Rolls of Yorkshire in 1587, and Isabel Wraith, married John Youlle on August 23rd 1584 at Kippax, in West Yorkshire. 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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